The Opium Timeline

Opium Timeline opium addiction treatment rehabilitation center

Opium Timeline Opium Timeline Opium Timeline Opium Timeline Opium Timeline Opium Timeline

Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum). Agricultural workers cut (score) the immature seed pods, which makes the latex leak out. It then dries into opium. The following is the opium timeline.

Between 4,200 BCE and 3,000 BCE

4200 BCE

Opium Poppy was grown throughout Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. Later finds were in the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

3400 BCE

First known cultivation of opium poppies in Mesopotamia, by Sumerians. They called it the “joy plant”

3000 BCE

Opium appeared to have ritual significance. Anthropologists have speculated ancient priests may have used the drug as a proof of healing power.

Between 3,001 BCE and 2,000 BCE

2800 BCE

Egyptian society restricted magicians, priests, and warriors from using opium. Isis treated Ra’s headache with opium.

2400 BCE

The Assyrians collected poppy juice in the morning after scoring the pods with an iron scoop.

Between 2,001 BCE and 1,000 BCE

1300 BCE

Egyptians begin cultivation of opium. The opium trade flourishes during the reign of Thutmose IV, Akhenaton, and King Tutankhamen. The opium trade finds its way to Greece, Carthage, and Europe.

In various statues and pictures, Minoan and Greek gods are often holding or wreathed in poppy pods.

1100 BCE

Cyprus harvests opium.

Between 1,000 BCE and 0

800 BCE

The Odyssey by Homer describes opium as a cure for Telemachus’ depression after failing to find Odysseus.

460 BCE

Hippocrates dismisses the magical attributes of opium but underlines its effects as a medicine.

Between 1 CE and 1,000 CE

200 CE

Galen of Pergamon, Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher in the Roman Empire notes how opium “cures epilepsy, asthma, leprosies.”

1000 CE

Al-Zahrawi, known as the father of surgery, describes opium as a surgical anesthetic.

Between 1,001 CE and 2,014 CE

1300 CE

During the Holy Inquisition, opium disappears from the European historical record because anything coming from the East was linked to the Devil.

1500 CE

A medicine called Laudanum was a solution of opium in ethanol.

1600 CE

Residents of Persia and India begin eating and drinking opium mixtures for recreational use. In China, people smoked opium with tobacco. The Chinese society recognizes addiction for the first time.

1729 CE

Chinese emperor, Yung Cheng issues an edict prohibiting the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine.

1803 CE

Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn first dissolves opium in acid, then neutralizing it with ammonia, discovered morphine. He called it “God’s own medicine” for its reliability, long-lasting effects, and safety.

1890 CE

U.S. Congress imposes a tax on opium and morphine. “Anti-drug” campaigns start.

1906 CE

U.S. Congress passes the Pure Food and Drug Act requiring labeling by pharmaceutical companies. As a result, the availability of opiates and their consumption declines significantly.

2014 CE

Opiates cause 47,055 (63%) of drug overdose deaths in the US alone.

Nelly Botezatu

Nelly Botezatu is a doctoral student in Economics. She enjoys learning new subjects, discovering trends, insights and data relationships. After studying the fundamentals of graphic design, she now presents her data analysis via infographics. She strives to add to the body of online knowledge for our clients.


Don't let addiction take over your life!

Our sponsored admissions advisor can guide you on the necessary steps to break free from addiction.

Call now (855) 638-9268