Morphine, heroin, OxyContin, codeine – what do all of these names have in common? These are only a few labels and generic names for some drugs that a part of a growing problem in our world: the Opioid Crisis. Since the early 2000s, the United States has been a battlefield littered with 117,000 opioid-related deaths and over 2 million addicts (as of 2016). Meanwhile, our friends Canada and Britain are facing the problem straight on, while Australians are bracing themselves for a growing epidemic Down Under. So, where did this problem originate? Where did these addictive, dangerous painkillers come from? Let’s take a closer look at opiates throughout history.
A Flower in the Desert
Opium is a naturally-occurring painkiller that is drawn from the sap of the opium poppy, and historians believe this milky substance was used by one of the earliest nations of philosophers. In fact, some of the earliest references to opium use and methods for harvesting the poppies originate in ancient Mesopotamia in 3,400 B.C. Living in what is now known as Iraq and Kuwait, the Sumerians named the beautiful red flower hul gil, or the “joy plant.”
Eventually, cultivation of the opium poppy spread to neighboring people, most notably the Ancient Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians. Historians have also discovered the drug grew in popularity under the leadership of King Tutankhamen. Likewise, the Greek writer Homer makes a reference to the otherworldly powers of the plant in his classic work The Odyssey.
Much like the modern marijuana debate (only much bloodier), the British attempted to legalize opium trade in China and claim stocks of the poppies from the Emperor. As a result, the conflict spawned the First Opium War (1839-1842) and the Second Opium War (1856-1860). These battles were considered one of the most immoral uses of militia in world history.
Demon in a Bottle
The infamous painkiller morphine was first constructed by Friedrich Sertürner, a German scientist, in 1803. After being used extensively as an agent during the American Civil War, morphine was responsible for causing over 400,000 people to become addicts. Over seventy years later, in 1874, English chemist Alder Wright attempted to create a less addictive form of morphine, and what he discovered was a drug that would spark an opioid crisis for years to come: heroin.
Always remember that painkillers do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance abuse disorder or addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug addiction and substance abuse troubles today.