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Opium

SCIENTIFIC TERM:

Papaver somniferum L. Poppy Tears, lachryma Papaveris

STREET NAMES:

Big O, Black stuff, Block.

EFFECTS:

Opium can cause euphoria, followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness or sedation. Breathing slows, potentially to the point of unconsciousness and death with large doses. Other effects can include nausea, confusion and constipation. Use of opium with other substances that depress the central nervous system.

DRUG FORM & METHOD OF USE:

Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy.  Opium is most often injected, however, it may also be vaporized ("smoked"), sniffed ("snorted"), used as a suppository, or orally ingested. Smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a "rush" as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection. Oral ingestion does not usually lead to a "rush", but use of heroin in suppository form may have intense euphoric effects.

HEALTH RISKS (long term) which includes withdrawal & tolerance:

Included in the list of opium effects are feelings of numbness (you can’t feel pain or stress), a strange sense of euphoria and emotional detachment from events and other people, loss of appetite, and drowsiness. Of course, the more harmful opium effects happen to be vomiting, increased urination and sweating (which lead to dehydration if ignored), impaired vision, loss of conscious focus and, most alarmingly, death.  Long term use can lead to drug tolerance, meaning the user needs more of the drug to get similar euphoric effects.  Opium use can also lead to physical dependence and addiction.  Withdrawal symptoms can occur if long term use is reduced or stopped.

LAW:

Opium is treated as a Class A drug where the maximum penalties are 7 years imprisonment and a fine for possession and life imprisonment and a fine for supply.

  1. The resin also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids.
  2. Cultivation of opium poppies for food, anesthesia, and ritual purposes dates back to at least the Neolithic Age.
  3. Opium is the milky latex fluid contained in the un-ripened seed pod of the opium poppy. As the fluid is exposed to air, it hardens and turns black in colour.
  4. The dried form is typically smoked, but can also be eaten. Opium is grown mainly in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Afghanistan.
  5. Opium is highly addictive. Tolerance and physical and psychological dependence develop quickly.
  6. As long ago as 100 AD, opium had been used as a folk medicine, taken with a beverage or swallowed as a solid.
  7. Opium was commonly used as an analgesic (an analgesic (also known as a painkiller) is any member of the diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain) until the development of morphine.
  8. The word Opium is derived from the Greek for poppy juice.
  9. Opium poppy cultivation in the United Kingdom does not need a licence; however, a licence is required for those wishing to extract opium for medicinal products.
  10. The book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz may allude to opium at one point in the story, when Dorothy and her friends are drawn into a field of poppies, in which they fall asleep.
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