Opium is a narcotic drug that is derived from the seeds of the Opium Poppy, a bright red flower that is grown commercially in parts of Asia. It has been used for millennia not only in medicine, but as a drug of abuse (heroin is a frequently abused opium derivative). Our modern legal 'Opioid" drugs are derived from this substance. Morphine is another strong opium derivative that has been used in the western world as a pain killer for at least two centuries. In the 19th century, a popular medication (used for sleep and pain relief) was called Laudanum, a real double-whammy of alcohol mixed with opium. Opium, and its derivatives, are extremely addictive. In the far east many wars have been fought over the control of Opium Poppy fields and the revenue that was derived from the ensuing drug trade.

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