Historical Perspectives: Opium, Morphine and Opiates

I’ve always been interested in historical perspectives surrounding the use of psychoactive drugs. Drug use, and views about drug use, have not always been the same across time. In April 2005, I wrote the first of a short series on the historical use of opium, morphine and opiates for Drink and Drugs News, the leading UK magazine focused on drug and alcohol treatment.

Here is that first article, along with links to the following two articles. You can also find these articles in my Background Briefings section of Articles on this website.

“Opiate, or opioid, refers to any drug, either natural or synthetic, that has properties similar to opium or its main active ingredient, morphine. Opium comes from one type of poppy, Papaver Somniferum.

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Historical Perspectives: Opium, Morphine and Opiates (Part 2)

Continues a brief history of the opiates, which includes describing the different responses of the United States and Britain to opiate problems in the earlier parts of the 19th century. (880 words)

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Historical Perspectives: Opium, Morphine and Opiates (Part 1)

Traces the history of the opiates, from use in Summarian and Assyrian civilisations through to the Opium wars between China and Britain and the cultural impact of opium smoking by Chinese in the Californian gold fields. (915 words)

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Bunny and Wolf fight overdose

Mike Scott found this great animation. Here is what the makers have to say:

Bunny and Wolf: An Animated Guide to Prevent Overdose Deaths
Opioid overdose continues to be a top killer of young people all over the world. In some countries, drug overdose deaths now outnumber those attributable to firearms, homicides or HIV/AIDS.

Few people realise that most of these deaths are easily preventable with the right information, and an inexpensive antidote, Naloxone, which can reverse overdoses.

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