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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation


What was opium drugs used for? Opiates (e.g., morphine, codeine, and thebaine) exert their main effects on the brain and spinal cord. Their principal action is to relieve or suppress pain. The drugs also alleviate anxiety; induce relaxation, drowsiness, and sedation; and may impart a state of euphoria or other enhanced mood.

Opium History

Opium's history dates back to 3400 B.C., when the first records of its cultivation and use are known.

  • It was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a potent pain reliever. It was grown in Southeast Asia and known as the "joy plant", or Hul Gil, by the Sumerians.

  • The Assyrians and the Egyptians also cultivated opium, and it traveled along the Silk Road (a series of travel routes) between Europe and China where it was involved in the beginning of the Opium Wars of the 1800s.

  • Opium dens were places where opium could be bought and sold, and were also found worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia, China and Europe.

Side Effects Of Opium

Nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, or constipation may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

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