WHAT IS OPIUM?
Opium is a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic that
is extracted from the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum.
The opium poppy is the key source for many narcotics,
including morphine, codeine, and heroin.
WHAT IS ITS ORIGIN?
The poppy plant, Papaver somniferum, is the source of
opium. It was grown in the Mediterranean region as early
as 5000 B.C., and has since been cultivated in a number of
countries throughout the world. The milky fluid that seeps
from its incisions in the unripe seed pod of this poppy has
been scraped by hand and air-dried to produce what is
known as opium.
A more modern method of harvesting for pharmaceutical
use is by the industrial poppy straw process of extracting
alkaloids from the mature dried plant (concentrate
of poppy straw). All opium and poppy straw used for
pharmaceutical products are imported into the United
States from legitimate sources in regulated countries.
What are common street names?
Common street names include:
Ah-pen-yen, Aunti, Aunti Emma, Big O, Black Pill, Chandoo,
Chandu, Chinese Molasses, Chinese Tobacco, Dopium,
Dover’s Powder, Dream Gun, Dream Stick, Dreams, Easing
Powder, Fi-do-nie, Gee, God’s Medicine, Gondola, Goric,
Great Tobacco, Guma, Hop/hops, Joy Plant, Midnight Oil,
Mira, O, O.P., Ope, Pen Yan, Pin Gon, Pox, Skee, Toxy, Toys,
When-shee, Ze, and Zero
What does it look like?
Opium can be a liquid, solid, or powder, but most poppy straw
concentrate is available commercially as a fine brownish powder.
How is it abused?
Opium can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill
form. Opium is also abused in combination with other drugs.
For example, “Black” is a combination of marijuana, opium,
and methamphetamine, and “Buddha” is potent marijuana
spiked with opium.
What is its effect on the mind?
The intensity of opium’s euphoric effects on the brain depends
on the dose and route of administration. It works quickly when
smoked because the opiate chemicals pass into the lungs,
where they are quickly absorbed and then sent to the brain.
An opium “high” is very similar to a heroin “high”; users
experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and the
relief of physical pain.
What is its effect on the body?
Opium inhibits muscle movement in the bowels leading
to constipation. It also can dry out the mouth and mucous
membranes in the nose. Opium use leads to physical and
psychological dependence, and can lead to overdose.
What are its overdose effects?
Overdose effects include:
Slow breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, loss of
consciousness, coma, and possible death
Which drugs cause similar effects?
Drugs that cause similar effects include:
Morphine, codeine, heroin, methadone, hydroquinone,
fentanyl, and oxycodone
What is its legal status in the United States?
Opium is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
Most opioids are Schedule II, III, IV, or V drugs. Some drugs that are
derived from opium, such as heroin, are Schedule I drugs.
SOURCE: A DEA Resource Guide 2017 Edition