A resin prepared from the juice of the poppy, eaten or smoked as a drug. It is used recreationally, as a sedative and analgesic in medicine, as an anaesthetic in surgery, by dreamers, and in rituals by priests.

Opium is legal and therefore cheap, so addiction is not a social problem, though addicts do tend to lose their ambition and drive. In the Classical Period and after opium is most commonly supplied as a tincture call ‘laudanum’: dissolved in a mixture of alcohol and water. At no time is the pure alkaloid, morphine, available.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.