Talk:Opium/Archive 1

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The first paragraph of "History of Opium" seems troublesome. The word "delicious"(Which I'm about to change back to delete), and the bit about "prudishly described" seem to be the worst of it. The word "attribute" is bothering me... but seems to be proper usage. The phrase, "an entheogen" seems to be stuck in there for no better reason than to use the word or throw a link in. I think I'm going to clip that too. I don't know about the Metropolitan Museum's gallery or exhibits, but if the name of the deity in the bas relief is known, I think it should be used(with a link either to a page of its own, or a page for its group of gods). And can someone check on the museum's description? I would remove the word "prudishly" got NPOV, but I'd rather it stand out as a red flag for whomever can confirm the description. -- MikeMaller 01:52, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

It would be interesting to explain where opium is natural from and where is it cultivated today. Also, what is the English word for a place where opium is sold and smoked? -- Error

An "oporium"? -- goatasaur
An "opium den"? -- Anon
That's traditionally what it's been called. The image shows one in Victorian times. -- ChrisO 08:39, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)


The following does not cite any sources and is detracts from the quality of the article;

"Countless miracle cures contained opium, which of course was the reason many of these were so successful, since people started taking these cures because they made them feel good. Opium was even touted as an alcoholism cure, evidently to the wives of alcoholics. This would be because an opium addict, capable of supporting his habit on about 5 cents a day, would likely be a more suitable companion for a wife—being placid and calm, mostly—than an alcoholic husband."

Please provide a source. Foolishben 09:19, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Conflicting Information

in the harvesting opium section it says that India is the largest producer of opium. In the Production today it says that Afghanistan is the largest producer.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 10:56, 3 December 2006 (UTC).


The effects page for opium seem not to exist at all. Perpahs listing the effects could aid in an understanding the drug.

Etymology of "opium"

The claim that "opium" comes from the ancient Macedonian "opi" (drunken) + "um" (mind) is probably BS. I can't find any support for it anywhere else on the internet, and it contradicts the Oxford English Dictionary, which traces it to the ancient Greek "opion" meaning "vegetable juice." Should it be removed, or just tagged with a "this needs a source"?

Suggestion: start by tagging it and perhaps trying to search out a source of your own. I don't buy it for a second (I see much more substance in your Oxford reference), but I'm not touching the main article; it's too mature. DrMorelos 00:32, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

in the section on "Harvsting Opium" instead of telling us where Opium is most commomly harvsted it states "iwas here, i was here, i was here". I am doing a research project and trying to find out where it is most commonly harvested, so i cannot fix it. Hopefully someone will be able to do so.

Production today

I wrote a little bit about the production of opium in Afghanistan but I don't think it is substantial. There is a lot more that can be put into that section and I would add more but I don't have the time to do research on other countries that produce opium and the statistics on opium production today. Rayana fazli 21:06, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I think these paragraphs should be added to the "production today" section because it does not relate to the section it is in now which is "harvesting opium." I wanted to discuss it with other editors before changed it. Rayana fazli 18:14, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

A recent proposal from the European Senlis Council hopes to solve the problems caused by the massive quantity of opium produced illegally in Afganistan, most of which is converted to heroin, and smuggled for sale in Europe and the USA. This proposal is to licence Afghan farmers to produce opium for the world pharmaceutical market, and thereby solve another problem, that of chronic underuse of potent analgesics where required within developing nations. In the industrialised world the USA is the world's biggest consumer of prescription opiates, with Italy one of the lowest. The Italian medical profesion seems to have recently accepted that opiates have applications apart from pain relief in terminal cancer. Recorded Italian consumption has increased considerably of late.

To this end Senlis arranged a conference in Kabul, to discuss the idea, but it remains to be seen if this will happen; internal security and corruption issues within Afghanistan make it unlikely that they soon will be able to meet the stringent UN requirements for legal production of opiates for export. If the record of CIA interference with attempts to "buy and burn" illicit Burmese opium harvests in the past is considered (McCoy, 1991), Afghanistan's opium may be a major part of current War on Drugs policies for some time.

It is my understanding that India is leading the world in legal production of opium. -Steve

If you can show where it might say that India is the leading producer of opium, then put it in the article. Rayana fazli 07:39, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

The 2005 Senlis proposal, which advocated licensing Afghan farmers to produce raw opium for commercial morphine production -- thus meeting a regional medical demand and potentially eliminating a major source of criminal/terrorist income -- was rejected outright by all involved political actors in the country. Its ideals were farsighted and well-placed, but it was also purposefully confrontational and radical, given, for one, that the entire official effort has been toward eradication and the promotion of "alternative livelihoods." While the eradication scheme has been a complex failure, the implications of a complete policy turnabout on the part of the Afghan government and the major supporters of the cause (US, UK, UN, etc.) were unsustainable; the rationale, in each case, might have been distinct, but each contributed to total rejection. The underlying link among them is a supposed morality that supersedes hard-sell (global) practical considerations. The only reasonable argument against the licensing scheme proposed by Senlis is that the country does not have the legal or logistical framework to handle the process, and already obvious "government" corruption does not give much faith in the feasibility of such an operation. In any case, although it's well obvious that opium is financing chaos in Afghanistan, there doesn't seem to be any effective means to a solution, because the problem lies within a global economy and global politics that refuse to recognise each other.


The following by User: is too personal for Wikipedia.

Added December 21, 2003:
I have smoked opium for the past few days and can say that the effects are mild and uninteresting (sort of like marijuana) but highly addictive, and you crave it the next day. I'm glad I ran out and I won't be getting more!

Yes, that's a...violation of the NPOV...and it's kind of creepy that someone would smoke an addictive substance just to gain insight into an online encyclopedia article. It’s probably just sarcastic vandalizing, anyway.

More that it is a violation of the No Original Research policy. But also the NPOV policy as well. In any case, if they did really smoke opium I doubt they did it just to gain insight into an online encyclopedia article Cloaked Dagger 04:06, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
sometimes called GOM, an acronym for "God's own medicine" This is cute, but does it have to be in the very first sentence? Wetman 23:02, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

It says Opium tea rarely leads to addiction. That is probablu because people making tea have limited supply of pods. It is as addictive as all other forms of Opium, and the article should be corrected.

My honors thesis (useless extra research paper [personal opinion]) was an argument for allowing a deregulated private use of poppy pod decoction (tea) with subsequent discussion and then counterargument with discussion. Many researchers manage to find no addictive potential (someone please remind me to cite my favourite reference when I can find it); as a graduate student I found quite the opposite -- that it was VERY habit-forming.
The other edge of the sword, though, is that since many different alkaloids coexist in the pod itself, the combined effects are vastly different than those of any individual opiate or opioid. If you administer a decoction of poppy pod to a patient and test levels of morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverine, you will see a synergy which is both patient-specific and wildly interesting. The timing of metabolism of each allows for a sort of multi-stage action, much like ambien CR or oxycontin can claim, but without gimmicks. And the most amazing part about it is that (WARNING: POTENTIALLY ANECDOTAL) in at least one patient a two-year regimen of poppy tea at a stable daily dose (dose was never increased), the psychological effects of euphoria waned but the enhanced calmness and patience did not. Furthermore, there was NO negative effect on the immune system as threatened in both the opium and opioid articles; in fact, the patient(s) never once became ill during the experiment. This was the surprising finding for me which allowed me to add a beginning to the ending of my thesis (the argument against was done about six months before the argument for was begun). I wish I were still researching sometimes, so that I could perform a much larger-scale study. I wholeheartedly believe that there is an enormous gift in many plants in nature and we humans use that gift inappropriately.
I would like to apologize for including my original research here, but I hope you would agree that a 'discussion' page is a much better place for contemplation of original research than a main article. DrMorelos 00:19, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
My own experience with buprenorphine (used concomittantly with tranylcypromine, both prescribed as part of a treatment regime for severe refractory depression) was that from 0.2mg to 16mg per day, it did not give any euphoria (by my definition) at all, although there was a sensation that might be interpreted as that for the first 8 hours after an increase in dosage. At no point was there any problem lowering the dosage or ceasing use altogether.
It did, however, have a persistent positive effect on calmness, patience, empathy and stress tolerance, apart from the depressive symptoms themselves (those responded very well). Also, it reversed long-term damage (tremors, hyperprolactinemia, etc.) from nozinan.
With regards to your comment about immune function, I too was surprised to read that opiates are considered bad for immune function, as I have had only a single infectious disease since starting treatment (and I stopped about a year ago), despite having been very susceptible to infectious disease in the past. Most parameters of physical health have had an improvement that outlasted the use of the drug itself.
Again, this is anecdotal, but if you'd like more information, mail me from my user page. I would like to see some more work done on this kind of thing. Perhaps the old assumptions are wrong, or perhaps there is simply a particular subpopulation for which opiates work very differently. Zuiram 01:58, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
In regards to the origional topic (although I did find both your experiances interesting), anything regarding HOW addictive opiates/opiods needs to be avoided. Addiction is subjective and involves many variables. The only thing that can be presented in a truelly scientific manner is physical dependance. The only mention of addiction and/or psychological dependance should be that they are possible. As a side note I am for the legalization of all drugs because anything less is a restriction of our freedom. But I am also scientist (in mind and soon to be on paper) and as much as I would like to rant about the insanity of drug prohabition this is not the place. So please avoid arguements on either side, leave that for the article on drug prohabition. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Foolishben (talkcontribs) 09:17, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

From (Laurel Bush, 16 Kennedy Terrace, UK, KW14 5BN) 2005 January 21st

Im finding no reason for the 1729 Chinese prohibition of opium. Was the official reason then that given in the 1810 decree? And is there evidence from 1729 of what we might now recognise as a distinction between medical and recreational use? Was there licensing of select professions (eg 'doctors') to supply opium?

You could infer reason given your lack of direct evidence, or you could look in new places for evidence. Also, please do not forget that the regime in China at the time was imperialist and was still experimenting with high-volume, state-level foreign trade. Read opium wars but please only consider it as a possible authority; there is a great deal of opinion tied up in the wording of citations chosen (typical of 18th- to 21st-century macro-political rhetoric, which has historically been of indeterminate value to any reader). While reading, keep in mind that any addictive substance is an easy thing to sell and if it's being imported for consumption without benefit to productivity, that means money is being exported at net loss. DrMorelos 00:19, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Was China the first country to legislate against opium use? Is China the birth place of modern drug control legislation?

I find myself wishing desperately that I could confidently answer either of those excellent questions. DrMorelos 00:19, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Opium in the middle ages

I'm interested in how a person may ingest opium in the middle ages, particualry a quick form. This is research for a novel.

Robert Carnegie, Scotland; ; 15th November 2005 represents a history of opium deviating somewhat from the article here, particularly in American legislation - they say taxed in 1840, smoking in public banned in San Francisco 1874, taxed again in 1890, "1905 U.S. Congress bans opium" - during a sitting anyway :-)

I also think more could be said about opium in China; I've fiddled with it but I'm not qualified to rewrite it. But it's plainly absurd to talk about "Chinatowns" and then about China, when the dates given are the opposite way around.

As for earlier historic use, apparently on Cyprus they were smoking as well as eating it as early as 1100 BC; Hippocrates had something to say about it; morphine is produced "by dissolving it in acid then neutralizing it with ammonia" in 1803 - Germans are such clever chemists! If a middle-ages quick hit is still wanted, perhaps you could stretch a point and bring in an anachronistic alchemist, or just drive a person out of their wits another way. Nutmeg in quantity is a hallucinogen and toxin, I don't know how fast-acting, and it's just the time for ergotism ("dancing mania").

Ongoing Vandalism

While I understand why this might be a target for vandalism (though it would seem that Heroin would be a more likely target), who is the bright light who keeps insisting that opium isn't addictive, and what are they smoking? Haikupoet 02:37, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

The way I had been reverting vandalism is:
click on "Revision as of 16:25, 31 May 2005"
edit page
Somehow I botched this on the opium article and reverted to a already-vandalised page. Thanks for noticing and correcting my mistake. You can also play around with the "history" tab, comparing earlier page versions. Your version of 19:43, 31 May 2005 looks fine to me. My own, and the vandals, recent revisions on 31 May 2005 should be disregarded. The last good version prior to yours looks like that of 20:31, 30 May 2005 by Rx StrangeLove. It includes some additional discussion of the addiction syndrome that we may want to include.
--Tom harrison 11:59, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
In fact, smoking or eating opium isn't especially addictive for most people (but then neither is it all that pleasant an experience, speaking from my own - even opium tea makes me pretty ill). Certainly less so than, say, wikipedia editing (and many other Internet-centred behaviours). Keep in mind that the history and legal status of contraband drugs in general and opium in particular is full of wild exaggeration, racist and political motivation, and very little good information. Heroin is more habit-forming than opium or morphine, but still not all it's cracked up to be (crack, on the other hand, is something I understand to be pretty nasty, as are stimulants in general). The reasons people compulsively abuse substances (among other behaviours) tend to have more to do with where the people are at than the nature of the substance. - toh 23:30, 2005 August 11 (UTC)
Indeed it probably isn't as addictive as "they" would want us to believe, but it does suit the requirements to be considered addictive. Anything can be psychologically addicted, and certainly some people are addicted that way, and opiates do produce a tolerance so there is the physical addiction aspect as well, it might be exagerated by the authorities, but it's still there for sure. And the article should mention this addiction potential. On another note, Heroin is metabolized into morphine in the body, and thus has the same effects(and addiction/tolerance/etc) of morphine as well as a few of it's own. Cloaked Dagger 04:15, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Currency Conversion

I added the euro to usd conversion. This the english Wikipedia and it needs to be expressed in terms of monetary value that are used here. The euro is not used here. Will add currency link.Dakota 20:24, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

You stupid fuck. This is the english *language* wikipedia. Here in Ireland we use the euro AND speak english.

What is cocaine and opium

what are the affects of cocaine and opium when smoked? a friend of mine has started doing this.

Smoking both together? Mixing stimulants (i.e. cocaine) and depressants (i.e opium) together is known as a speedball, and is bad news, and has caused a good number of (famous) drug related deaths. It carries a large overdose risk as the effects of one drug will generally wear off before the other, causing a delayed-reaction overdose effect. The combination can also be very hard on the heart, and can lead to heart attack. Risks of death aside, according to the "experts" (hard core drug users), the speedball is also the most addictive drug combination, and if you've never tried it, it should be avoided at all costs. --Thoric 15:54, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Well whatever it is he's calm on it like when he use to smoke meth, he said it was cocaine and opium and he called it a lemonhead maybe he's not telling me what it really is??

Most opium and meth/cocaine containing concoctions are common abused today, although seldom when smoked (I am a paramedic and I haven’t heard of both being smoked together, although it is possible). It is interesting to me that early (early 1900's) in the history of opioid addiction, cocaine was thought to be the solution. Ironically, many of the claims to fame for opioid concoctions in the 1800's resurfaced in the praise for cocaine. And today they both are major drugs of abuse. -Steve

Strong pain precludes dependence??

I removed the sentence "Strong pain is so stimulating itself that dependence when treating strong pain is rare" and then I adjusted the previous sentence for clarity.

I removed the sentence because it didn't make sense to me -- once the opium removes the pain, it would remove that stimulation, and therefore it would remove the very thing that is claimed to preclude dependency -- wouldn't it clear its own path to dependency?

Please leave the sentence out, or put it back and provide a citation, per Wikipedia policy.

I'm also wondering about the word "euphoric" in the previous sentence. Should it be "anti-dysphoric"? In other words, is dependency just as likely, or is it less likely, when a person uses opium to move from anxiety or depression to neutrality, than when a person uses it to move from neutrality to euphoria?

I agree with the removal of "strong pain [...] rare". It smells like original research. Has research confirmed that increased endorphin release protects against addiction?
As for euphoric, its use is correct. "Euphoric" can be used both in active and passive form. Something that improves moods (eu- = "good") is called a euphoric, despite the fact that euphory itself is more than just a "normal" or "good" mood. I agree it's not very clear. JFW | T@lk 23:05, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Opium for therapy

For many centuries o. was a reliable remedy. About 70% of depressive people could removal their depression. Nowadays in India opium is still a kind of therapy by depression. The danger of dependance for such human beeing is small. --Fackel 18:01, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I can't speak to opium itself, but opiates are still used clinically in treating depression. Just very rarely. The preferred agent is buprenorphine, as it has less addictive potential and a fairly long half-life; also, it is a partial agonist (limiting the potential for overdose, and preventing the user from abusing street opiates at the same time), and it is a full antagonist at the kappa receptor, leading to decreased tolerance and increased antidepressant effects. In fact, kappa antagonists are being researched as antidepressants in their own right, and buprenorphine has a pretty amazing affinity for that receptor.
That said, the politics of it are silly if you're going to talk NPOV. Yes, abuse is a problem. But, studies clearly indicate that abuse is usually a consequence of mental illness (most commonly depression), and that the problems are derived from (a) the illicit supply chain, and (b) misuse. Neither of these are relevant in a therapeutic setting.
In Russia, they've started using torture (specifically, whipping) as a way to legally achieve the effect of opiates on depressive patients. Screw informed consent; if I could choose between being whipped and being depressed, I'd take the whip any day.
Dependance is a complicated issue. A person with heart disease is dependant on their medication to avoid dying, which is conceptually equivalent to physical dependance (particularly as there may be rebound issues if you quit those the way you'd force someone to quit opiates). A person with chronic depression is (at least periodically) dependant on medication to avoid relapse, which is conceptually equivalent to psychological dependance.
There is a qualitative difference, of course, but denying mental or physical health care based on the liability of the drug to cause dependance is still denying health care, and figures prominently in causing addiction and supporting illicit drug operations world-wide. Zuiram 02:22, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Afganistan in BOLD: Very annoying. Am editing out to one link, and every other time mentioned into plain text. V. Joe 22:17, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Five cents

The article repeats twice that an opium addict could satisfy his need for five cents a day in the 19th century. This may be true, but I think it is a bit misleading to mention it, since the value of money was different those days. Maybe one should include the typical price of a bottle of whiskey of a typical pay of day's manual labour those days for comparison. Since five cents feels like a small amount of money for a modern reader, it causes a "wow that was cheap"-impression, and I am not quite sure if it is accurate. Does anyone have any data of other prices of the 19th century. This was just my five cents...Punainen Nörtti 08:48, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. My position is that the alcohol it replaced would cost about the same, and no mention is made of the near-completely erased libido in most male opium users. What wife wants an asexual husband? Isn't that why pfizer is suddenly so solvent? I would prefer if someone else could correct this in the article, however, because I am very poor at distinguishing between propriety and its inverse when I have strong concerns regarding an issue. DrMorelos 00:25, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that the reason why wives of alcoholics would buy this is they'd prefer an asexual and reserved husband rather than a violent drunkard. Frotz661 04:45, 28 December 2006 (UTC)


what are the recent problems about opuim

SKY AND EARTH 05:03, 22 November 2006 (UTC)what's the best for me

Medicinal uses and cultivation: Morhpine, Codine,

Surely the Medicinal Uses section should mention Opium's use as raw material for morphine, codine and other modern pharmaceutical applications. Mind you, I may be misunderstanding the production of these licit drugs.

Also, it should probably be mentioned that licit opium poppies are cultivated legally in several countries. Australia and India I think are the leading producers of opium for pharmaceuticals. [1] Edward Tubb 15:52, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

American Fortunes

One of the sentences in the "modern usage" section looks like it needs to be changed. the sentence reads:

"Many large American fortunes were built in the opium trade, including those of John Jacob Astor (partially and briefly), John Kerry (from his Forbes grandfather), and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (from his Delano grandfather)."

For now, I added the citation needed tag to the sentence. However, I would like to remove or change the sentence completely since John Kerry and Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not have anything to do with the sale of opium themselves. If anything, it should list the names of the men who actually sold the opium two generations earlier (if they really did, that is). The fact that Kerry and Roosevelt are descendants of these men has no relevance to the article IMO. Thoughts? -km 03:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

"Fortunately for these addicts, they did not lose their jobs or much of their respectability as a result of this, and an opium addiction was considered more similar to a gambling or alcohol addiction. Also, since a man could remain an opium addict on 5 cents a day, it did not cause undue financial strain, and therefore no damage to the person was caused that one living under an 'addict' lifestyle in the modern sense would risk suffering."

Seems more like an opinion to me rather than facts. -- 22:15, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

'Legal medicinal uses' section needed.

Smoking opium must alleviate some pain. We know morphine is derived from it and morphine is definitely useful but what about opium for minor medical problems. -- (talk) 08:51, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced statements gone feral

Hmmm... here's a philosophical question. A recent editor sourced the statement about the winged deity in a bas-relief from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud to two reputable sources: [2] [3].

The comic part is that these sources are both copied precisely from the old version of this article, including the original unsourced statement.  Eventually, if I can stop snickering, I should try to decide what to make of that. Mike Serfas 04:03, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Hopefully this doesn't mean the universe is about to collapse on itself ;) --Daniel11 04:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Don't worry guys I removed it before implosion ;) I can hopefully replace some of the weaker sources in this article with good sources (i.e. Medical and Archaeological Journals) as I have access to them. I have access to most scientific journals so if there is one you know of specifically that could be of use let me know.--Iosef U T C 17:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks - you've been doing good editing, and I have a wishlist. ;) Especially, I'd like to get in more detailed information about the Yongzheng Emperor's 1729 ban - was it only a ban on madak smoking, or did it prohibit domestic Chinese opium production? I'm guessing that opium became a high value commodity for the British to trade because it was banned, and that some aspect of the British trading concession or extraterritoriality gave them a loophole - is that true? If Arab traders brought opium to China in 400 A.D., why were they importing it in 1729 anyway? I've seen mention of the British "preferring" to trade opium rather than silver - what were the relative values of these products from the sellers' point of view? Also, there was a brief mention of "drastic penalties" for Chinese users but what were they? Was it definitely the first ban on opium in the world? I'll get back to a good library eventually but thanks if you beat me to it. Mike Serfas 03:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

I'll see what I can dig up.--Iosef U T C 02:57, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

the British prefered to trade opium instead of silver because at that time the prevalent economic thought was mercantilism; where the total economy/wealth is viewed as finite 'pie' measured solely on gold/silver and other precious metals one holds, once the silver is traded for something else, it's gone as far as the economy is concerned (as in a zero/sum game), the value of goods/services the silver bought were not considered addition to the economy. in that view only precious metals counted as real wealth, anything else common/perishable such as raw materials don't count for much. (talk) 21:15, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

The last word on Ashurnasirpal

For years this article contained an unsourced statement which in my opinion really wasn't very nice. "At the Metropolitan Museum's Assyrian relief gallery, a winged deity in a bas-relief from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, dedicated in 879 BC, bears a bouquet of poppy capsules on long stems, described by the museum as "pomegranates". Early versions even said "prudishly" described as pomegranates! It was unsourced, but perhaps people felt they had to leave it in - it was once the only mention in the article of any ancient use of opium. Well, for the record, I found the museum with a quick Web search, [4] wrote up their help desk and asked what they had to say. In a few days I received a response from Kim Benzel, the assistant curator, admitting that there was always room for debate on interpreting highly stylized bas-reliefs, and both plants were known to the Assyrians, but they generally more closely resemble pomegranates, which are better represented in iconography of the period. She suggested further reading on the topic:

  • Curtis, John E., and Julian E. Reade, eds. Art and Empire: Treasures from Assyria in the British Museum. Exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995.
  • Kuhrt, Amélie. The Ancient Near East c. 3000-330 BC, vol. 2, From c. 1200 B.C. to c. 330 B.C.. London: Routledge, 1995.
  • Reade, Julian E. Assyrian Sculpture. 2d ed. London: British Museum Press, 1998.

While there may be some interesting possibilities here for original research, I see no reason to doubt her expert opinion. Wikipedia owes the museum an apology for this slur against its integrity. Mike Serfas 23:25, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Why did opium addiction become a problem after more than 5900 years of uneventful use?

This is the question that I'd like to see answered most of all. There are countless descriptions of the addictiveness of opium dating from the last three centuries, but before then, I'm not finding them. During the Islamic Renaissance, it was apparently a drug available to poor people who couldn't afford to go to the doctor - without causing social disruption. During the Roman Empire it was widely known and used medically, but one reference I found guessed that there was little if any hedonistic use or addiction. I think there must be many more sources that weigh in on this issue that can be added. But perhaps the explanation is among the interesting biochemistry and evolutionary biology still hidden in the poppies. Mike Serfas 03:11, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

So far my thoughts focus on two points. As now described in the article, for some time the Chinese purchasers regarded their domestic opium as "inferior" and paid twice as much for opium from India. Also, a few scientific articles (PMID 16807881, PMID 15507371, PMID 16182480) suggest that Papaver rhoeas extract can interfere somehow with the development of morphine addiction. I'm tempted to speculate that Papaver somniferum was artificially selected for maximum potency at some time between the introduction of poppies to China (600-1200) and when addiction to Indian opium was observed (1700), and that perhaps such selection not only increased the fraction of alkaloids made up by morphinans, but also decreased the level of a beneficial antagonist or weak agonist of opioid receptors. But is there any evidence to support this? Mike Serfas 05:45, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Opium addiction has always been, but spread more recently as the smoking method was popularized. Smoking anything has a higher addiction potential. Similar to how smokers find nicotine gums useless in most cases, although chemically the same addiction cue as cigarettes. Smoking opium is far more addictive than ingesting. That is why it became a problem, but to say Opium addiction is a new thing, is wrong, there have always been opium dependent people, but perhaps not a problem worth noting since ingesting opium is easily controllable opposed to smoking which will rapidly increase the users tolerance at higher rates than ingestion. Ingesting opium even has lower dependency rates than oxycontin or MST continus (Morphine sulphate), partly because of its cocktail of alkaloids. It's also worth noting Thebaine plays a vital role in reducing the rapid build up of tolerance, duration of effects and limiting large amounts of opium use due to thebaine poisoning. When opium is smoked, only the Morphine and some of the Codeine alkaloids are inhaled, whilst thebaine and the other non-narcotic alkaloids are destroyed due to high heat, therefore it allows a user to use large quantities of morphine without the effects of thebaine (thebaine if taken in large amounts can cause thebaine poisoning which results in seizures, convulsions and involuntary muscle movements), so it seems by the smoking method, the natural safeguard (thebaine) is bypassed. Also, ingesting cooked opium will also carry low levels of thebaine as it is destroyed in the cooking process. Cooked opium is most common type of opium latex in Mid-Asia and Southeast Asia today, which carries a higher addiction potential than natural opium, even when ingested. So the increasing opium addiction potential is partly because of 1. popularization of smoking method 2. removal/reduction of thebaine 3. higher morphine to thebaine content ratio. If alcohol could be smoked, i'm sure we will have a alcohol epidemic on our hands, and handful of alcoholics. Hope this has helped guys. I was involved in a study researching Iran's opium usage, and thats where this information is from. If you need a copy of the report for citation, let me know. And if you want to know more about thebaine poisoning, here is a good link .-- (talk) 00:25, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

American fortunes

While trying to tighten the history of prohibition in China, I decided the list with the three Americans who made fortunes on opium really doesn't belong. (John Jacob Astor, James Grant Forbes, Warren Delano, Jr.) I know this is a contentious point (see Talk:Opium/Archive 1), but the problem is that if the Americans are listed surely a larger number of British subjects should be listed, and if they're listed that's quite a bit of space to give to a list of names without context, even before you start listing famous grandchildren. This information definitely should be featured prominently in the individual biographies of these people. If you can cite a source that says "Lots of prominent American politicians including X,Y, and Z owe their upper-class status to dope-dealing ancestors" then that would be a good thing to have in the article, but otherwise what we have is just an arbitrary subset of a long list. Mike Serfas 17:49, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Peer review

At WT:PHARM#Opium_and_Apolipoprotein_A1 some time ago, Fvasconcellos suggested putting this article up for peer review. I delayed doing this until I'd fixed some of the obvious flaws, but it's getting near time for wider input.

As a preliminary I've put the automated script review output at Talk:Opium/autopeerreview for reference. Mike Serfas 03:51, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

P.S. At this time all the automatic peer review points are satisfied, except for "Can't" in a book title and the undisputed need for a thorough copy edit. Of course, real reviewers may not be so easy. Mike Serfas 03:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

GA Review

I'll be reviewing this article over the next few days for GA status. Though I am obviously not finished, at first glance, the article looks like it's in excellent shape, and GA status shouldn't be too hard to obtain. There's a couple of minor issues that you might want to begin fixing now:

  • Make sure section and subsection headers are in compliance with WP:MSH - while this isn't a huge GA issue, and some inconsistencies are acceptable, some of them are kind of long, and should be reduced or paraphrased for easier readability in the TOC.
  • The 'see also' section is quite long, and can very likely be reduced. Links to articles that are already mentioned elsewhere in the text (in prose, or in 'see also' or 'main article' links attached to previous sections, should not appear in the 'see also' section at the end).
  • The references for the most part look fine.
  • Recommend changing the title of the 'bibliography' section to 'further reading' so that's the book listings are not confused with references citing information in the text. This is consistent with the manual of style.
  • The 'external links' section is a bit long, and could probably be pruned. It might help to review WP:EL for guidelines on pruning this list. Links to sites like are generally discouraged, as its content is more focused on subjective illicit "experiences" than actual scientific fact and information (an interesting discussion on erowid's validity took place recently at wikiproject pharmacology).

I'll provide more comments as I complete my review. This should be enough to get editors started, though. Though, based on my initial assessment, I am not expecting major work to be done - mostly minor little things, some of which I may end up just fixing myself,... Cheers! Dr. Cash 21:04, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks for the review! I've made most of the changes you recommend, with the exception that I think is a highly desirable external link for the article. Most of the content here comes from a remote, academic perspective, and this link helps to round it out and provide a modern point of view. For example, the site describes the characteristics of illegal heroin from various nations, which is certainly more substantial than the collection of trip reports that the discussion above had suggested. Given that apparently there is a large difference in HIV transmission rates between different types of heroin, this could actually be an important resource. Mike Serfas 03:33, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
I still strongly disagree on It is a site dedicated to experiential, subjective information, and mostly promoting illegal use of substances. While there is some actual valid scientific information on there, a lot of this information is better obtained from legitimate sites. Plus, I don't think it's in wikipedia's best interests to promote the illegal use of drugs, which is something that the owners of the site seem to favor. Dr. Cash 06:38, 21 September 2007 (UTC) provides information, it's not a promotional site. "A lot of this information is better obtained from legitimate sites" -- is a legitimate site. --Daniel11 07:15, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure why this site has such a bad reputation with you - but the external link listed is certainly not a blog nor a social networking site nor does it appear to provide false information. I can find no WP:EL policy that even discourages it. Appalling as it is to think about, prior to the introduction of Wikipedia that is probably the place to which someone interested in this topic would have been directed. In just a quick examination of the site last night, I actually found a significant correction to make to this article (which I verified at a second source). The site contains a few subjective reports, yes, but it also contains discussion of everything from Cytochrome P450 isoforms to DEA prescription policies. Regarding its POV, the site contains significant warnings about using drugs and specific unsafe practices, and scarcely seems like a cheerleader for opium, but even if it were I think basic NPOV prohibits me from removing links on this basis. Besides, even if I did remove it, it's such an obvious link to add that it would doubtless turn up again anyway. Mike Serfas 13:51, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
While I still disagree with your assertions regarding the site, it is but one link in external links, and I won't withhold GA status on that alone (I don't want to ignite a flame war on one link). Plus, I noticed you already removed the extra link to opium photos hosted by erowid, as you also removed another non-notable photo site as well.
It still should not be used as an inline reference citation, but for different reasons, as we should favor primary, peer-reviewed sources as references over secondary & tertiary, non-peer-reviewed sources. It's use in reference citation #55 is unnecessary, because the citation immediately following it is better source in this case, so the secondary source is unnecessary here. Dr. Cash 18:23, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
It occurred to me that perhaps the real problem was not that Erowid was the worst external link, but the best external link. Tell me whether you think my addition of some prominent "mainstream" sites helps to balance out the section, or just makes it too long. Also, I removed the Erowid reference (among other things, Erowid is described as a library but there is listed as the author). I hope this helps. Mike Serfas 00:34, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

The changes to the external links are good. I made another minor modification, explicitly stating the specific information that is being linked to from those sites (without that, it kind of looks, on the surface, like the link is going to the main page of the site).

I've basically completed my review, and the article pretty much nails the Good Article criteria, though there is one major issue and a few minor ones that still needs to be corrected prior to GA status:

  • The image Poppyfield_Didcot_UK.jpg has no copyright tag. An acceptable free or fair use tag must be added prior to GA status, or the image should be removed from the article.

There are also a couple of minor issues. While the article is very well cited, there are a few gaps. Most notably:

  • In the 'Greece and Rome' subsection, there is some unsourced information by some historical notables (e.g. Hesoid, Homer, Hippocrates, Alex the Great) that should be cited.
  • In the 'recreational use' section, the paragraph about the chinese diaspora (18th century), is unsourced. This seems pretty major.
  • The 'Cultural references' section is pretty much unsourced. Although this is a lesser issue because the source may very well be contained within the linked article on wikipedia; it would nevertheless be nice if a couple of inline citations were used here.

Other than that, this is a very good article, and very interesting. I made a few minor changes, mostly grammatical, as I went along. The most major ones of those were to the infobox (adding clarification of additional countries to the production & consumption listings, to make it more obvious that it's not all produced in afghanistan neither is it all consumed in the US). I also alphabetized the further reading list, and combined the 'online' items with the 'text' items (I don't see a reason to separate these - they're all useful, it's just that the ones online are easier to obtain than the others.

Good work! Dr. Cash 07:06, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

This article looks very good, and now meets the Good Article criteria. It will be listed. Cheers! Dr. Cash 02:37, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Merge from Smoking

I am suggesting merging a section from the article Smoking to here. Any discussions about this should take place here. Naacats 22:04, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Is anyone for or opposed to this? We need at least a minimum consensus on the matter Naacats 04:51, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Oppose. The paragraph you want to merge is generally intended to be in summary style (see WP:SS). Ideally, it should summarize the information about opium smoking that is presented here, and it certainly is not too long to serve as a summary. Removing it entirely might be perceived as a "POV fork" (e.g. perhaps an attempt to dissociate the smoking of tobacco from the smoking of opium, despite their fairly close historical ties). Additionally, the content of that paragraph differs in some respects from what is presented here and the only reference is offline in French and might only support the last sentence. Mike Serfas 15:03, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Oppose. The Smoking article covers the whole of smoking and the substances associated with it. Opium is a significant smoked-substance, and therefore deserves its own section beside the sections concerning tobacco, cannabis, and other smokables. The section on the smoking page is succinct and covers the smoking side of opium use. The opium article covers the whole of opium and its historical significance. Both the article and the section are fine as they are. TeamZissou 04:25, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I oppose too, however, I DO think there needs to be a section here about opium smoking, or at least a paragraph or two, but not as detailed as in the smoking section. -- 13:51, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Request for details/citations

I have a request for details pertaining to early prohibitions against opium use at Talk:Prohibition (drugs)#Earliest prohibition, and citations, which perhaps some editors of opium can help with. Thanks! --Daniel11 16:03, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Opium in Europe during the middle ages...?

Does anyone know how opium was transported into Europe and by whom. Did the opium that was used in Europe come from the Middle East? Did the middle age "doctors" of Europe get alot of people addicted to opium just to profit from the peoples addiction? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Apparently Switzerland and the surrounding mountain's in bordering countries had native opium poppies. I doubt Ancient European usage has anything to do with Mid-Asia. Food fossils and remains were found in the ice on Swiss mountains containing poppy seeds which also suggested Europeans used opium poppy for non-analgesic reasons. There is strong evidence that Europe has had its own strain of the opium poppy most resemblant of the Turkish type with thicker membrane. You could argue recent (last 500 years) opium introductions in Europe is from the Mid-Asia (Iran, Afganistan and so on). Many of the strains cultivated in Holland, France and UK originate from Mid-Asia. I would like to point out to you, the Arabian peninsula south of the Persian Gulf has never cultivated opium, and never could due to the infertile sandy soil, desert conditions, intense heat and lack of mountains. Even now, they have growing problems in the region despite modern improvements in water availability, irrigation etc. Please read about the Fertile crescent. Arabs have never had a historic usage of Opium, and their discovery of Opium only became to be during the islamic conquest, after the invasion of Persia (which now is Iran, majority of Iraq, Parts of Turkey, Afghanistan etc.)
During the middle-ages, not many doctors were aware of the addiction potential of opium and its also worth noting, the opium 400 years ago had far lower morphine content than todays strains. I wouldn't call them doctors neither. Most people self-treated by cutting out the middle-man and going to alchemists/pharamcists directly.

China and recreational use

From the article: "Recreational use of the drug began in China in the fifteenth century". Hope I'm not offending anyone, but I find this laughable. Were magic mushrooms never used "recreationally" until the hippies came along? The definitive change has not been in the use, but the cultural perception. And anyway, even if I'm wrong on that, opium use for it's euphoric properties is as old as time. --MQDuck 03:33, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes you are right, Opium was first used for its euphoric properties, followed by the discovery that it also numbs physical pain. Almost all drugs were used used due to their euphoric effects. -- (talk) 23:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Since opium use goes back to prehistoric times, the above referenced statement is incomprehensible. So I'm changing it.Unsignedunforgiven (talk) 06:06, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Bad Infobox Photo

That infobox photo is terrible... That's a picture of opium poppies, not opium... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lelandrb (talkcontribs) 00:33, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. I replaced it with a photo of opium latex oozing out of a cut poppy fruit. This is likely the most helpful image for someone who has never seen a poppy. We could have an image of prepared opium, but there are so many different forms. Likiva (talk) 09:56, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Conflicting estimates of production

Where in the article do we describe eradication efforts? I note that some have been suffering from contradictory estimates from "differing methodologies." "US claims Afghan opium progress" (BBC) (talk) 07:24, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

"Black tar heroin" sold as "opium" in the western United States.

Colloquially and especially noted on these online drug use forums these days, it is an extremely common occurrence that "opium" is being smoked as a recreational drug. However, raw opium extract doesn't exist in the United States (you can find home made poppy tea but not the raw opium extract these people are thinking they are getting): What these people are doing, unbeknownst to them, is black tar heroin. True opium should smell strongly plant matter, heroin smells like acetic acid (vinegar), can be orange or yellowish in color, and can be injected when broken down in a solution (opium cannot be because of it's codeine content). The amount of raw morphine in opium is no where near the amount of acetylated morphine in the content of black tar heroin. People in the U.S. should know what they are doing, and it is not "opium", there has not been a DEA report of finding opium extract in the U.S. and that should tell these people something. It is heroin. Not opium. (talk) 01:26, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

What is the source of this information, please? Looie496 (talk) 01:40, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Types of 'opium' from "template:opioids"

I removed "Powdered Opium" from the opioids template as it simply redirected to the opium article. However "Granulated Opium", "Raw Opium", "Smoking Opium" & maybe even "Poppy Straw Concentrate" all too had redirect links on the opioid template that might very well rightly have sections here in this article if they are so notable. I simply did not want them to be overlooked being removed from the template if they can indeed muster their own article. Nagelfar (talk) 21:35, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

retail price

as of now it reads under retail price $3 per gram Retail price $16,000 per kilogram that seems ridiculous, why would something, when bought in large increments, be more than 4 times more expensive, than when it is bought in small increments. maybe only one is the retail price and the other something else (what?), but it is terribly confusing. (talk) 19:23, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

$16,000 per kilo ($16/gram) is probably the street value per police/DEA estimates (and of course they always use the highest estimates to boast the value of their busts). the $3 per gram is probably something like 'wholesale' price where the opium poppy is harvested. (talk) 21:27, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Wrong Information on Map - Removed until author fixes the problem

The Map indicating "Main producers of opium for the heroin trade" ( is extremely misleading. Iran produces no illegal opium or heroin. Not only is opium production in Iran totally banned, illegal, but also carries a penalty of death by lethal injection or strangulation. Like all other countries Iran has a limited number of globally recognized opium fields for research, medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, and despite the outrageous claim from the map, the number of the legal opium fields in Iran is LESS than the number of legal opium poppy fields in France or Spain, let alone claiming heroin production. According to U.N. statistics, Iran has no role, and no contribution to the worlds illegal heroin production. Iran's contribution to the worlds illicit opium production for 2008 was... guess...... 0... 2007.... again 0.... 2006 again 0... and so on ( & The map maker is obviously not a professional in the subject, or is a professional but has a bias or a defamatory intention when it comes to Iran, and to some extent Pakistan. However, even though opium production in Iran is none existent, Afghan opium and heroin is illegally trafficked through Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan, via lorries, air, cross-mountain camel bandits, and tunnels. Iran's border patrol confiscates more Afghan heroin and opium annually than any other country in the world, however, the trafficking through Iran is less than what is trafficked through Russia both from Afghanistan, meaning Russia is a bigger conveyor belt for Afghan Heroin than Iran or Pakistan. Never the less, Trafficking and production are 2 separate topics and factors, rendering the map inaccurate, misleading, and defamatory to Persians who are not just struggling to stop Afghan heroin trafficking from reaching Europe and other parts of West Asia but are also victims of the influx of cheap Afghan heroin/opium itself, let alone being mislabeled as producers and accomplices to the global Heroin production. Pakistan though does produce opium for illicit use, but the numbers are very insignificant to even bear mentioning. Iran alongside Russia, and Turkey is only a frequent route for Heroin trafficking, but has no contribution to illicit Heroin or Opium production. I will remove the map until the creator fixes this problem. Please do not upload/create maps before running them through the discussion group first. Things like this results in misinformation to many, and possibly students who then print out the map thinking it is reliable information. -- (talk) 04:31, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

I want to say that opium is being produced all over Europe by Macfarlan Smith

and that they say that the Senlis report is out of date and that they,

as the largest producers of morphine in the world, were never asked to contribute to its 

findings: [5] --Janeyjo (talk) 11:48, 27 September 2009 (UTC)

Opium Production Chart

Approximate global opium production for recreational purposes

This chart is misleading and should be replaced. 1) The peak value of 41000 metric tons in 1906/1907 is disputed. This estimate includes 35,000 metic tons (584,400 piculs) for Chinese production, but the Qing Court estimated only 8,800 metric tons (146,000 piculs) in this same year.[1] See also below for response from the British Medical Journal. 2) The chart apparently mixes figures for Chinese production and import with figures for total global production. 3) Opium varies widely in morphine content.[2] 4) Non-opiate pain relievers and anti-biotics were not widely available until the 20th century, and opium was used medically in China and elsewhere for pain, diarrhea and fever.[2] 5) Has only four data points between 1850 and 1950, misleadingly implying a sharp peak in production. 6) Missing labels on the Y-axis.

Rewriting history, A response to the 2008 World Drug Report, Transnational Institute, June 2008:

A lot of opium was used for medicinal purposes, which are treated now by other medications. In order to compare production and consumption figures a century apart one should take into account that a lot of the use in the past is now replaced with other regular medicines and remedies to treat these diseases, such as antibiotics as well as synthetic opioids and other lighter painkillers, the so-called antipyretic analgesics including paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen.

Another question is how reliable the 1906/07 production figures are. They were based on a report of the Chinese delegation to the International Opium Commission (IOC) in Shanghai in 1909. These estimates were already challenged at the IOC itself. “The statistics in this report are of very little value,” according to an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), of January 8, 1910, about the report of the Chinese delegation. “They were challenged by the British delegates, with the result that the Chinese delegation has represented to the Government the necessity of obtaining more reliable data. The figures dealing with the growth of the poppy and the consumption of opium are, as a rule, nothing more than rough estimates or mere expressions of opinion.”

The production rapidly declined to 22,200 metric tons in 1908, and to 4,000 metric tons in 1911, when the eradication campaigns due to the anti-opium edict issued by the Qing government in 1906 – mandating the cessation of poppy cultivation over a ten-year period and requiring licenses for smokers – began to have an impact. However, other sources quote a production of 16,300 metric tons in 1904, well below the peak in 1906/07 and the 1908 figures.

On the other hand the figures of 2007 seem to be too low. According to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) there is now an unmet demand in opiates. Ironically, the current drug control regulations hamper access to controlled opiate medications for therapeutic use. Many patients are unable to access morphine, methadone or an equivalent opioid. Global medical morphine consumption would rise five times if countries would make morphine available at the level of the calculated need, according to a recent WHO estimate.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Likiva (talkcontribs) 11:18, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

GA Reassessment

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Opium/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

Article has a lot of unsourced statements, tagged from Mar 2008, Oct 2008, Jan 2009, Sep 2009, Dec 2009 and the introduction is tagged as being too long; article also quite a few dead external links. Tom B (talk) 18:42, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

no progress, delist Tom B (talk) 21:36, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
If you compare this with the Methamphetamine article, you'll notice we're missing lots of information on its alterations to health during usage. (talk) 10:24, 21 March 2011 (UTC)


  1. ^ Anti-drug crusades in twentieth-century China: nationalism, history, and state building. Yongming Zhou. Rowman & Littlefield, 1999. (page 20)
  2. ^ a b Dikötter, Frank, Lars Laamann, and Zhou Xun. Narcotic culture: a history of drugs in China Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Removed images

I removed two images. This image of an old book is unnecessary. [6] And this image is a fantasy based on exaggerated and fictional accounts of London opium dens. [7] Likiva (talk) 09:35, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you about the fictional den, but I think the Avicenna image is justified, as it illustrates what is discussed in the text. I have also made some other partial reversions, which I'll be happy to discuss here if there are any questions. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Jewish doctors during middle ages

Were jewish doctors the main source of opium for europeans during the middle ages? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand where that question comes from. The "Reintroduction to Western medicine" section of the article deals with that period, and there is nothing to indicate a role for Jewish persons there. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:54, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Genesis in the Holy Scriptures says ALL PLANTS WITH SEED IS FOOD

It would be nice if it were legal to grow and sale Opium as food because it is a supressed food. The first book of the Holy Scriptures in Genesis says YEHOVAH God gave man all plants bearing seed as FOOD. That is right OPIUM is a gift from YEHOVAH God to man as a FOOD. It should be legal to grow and consume. (talk) 03:14, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps, but I'm afraid references need to be verifiable and Yehovah is the epitome of WP:NOTRELIABLE. Thank you for your comment. That Ole' Cheesy Dude (Talk to the hand!) 03:17, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Also: WP:NOTAFORUM. --Tryptofish (talk) 17:40, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

25% of Chinese males were opium users?

The articles states without citation "After 1860, opium use continued to increase with widespread domestic production in China, until more than 25% of the male population were regular consumers by 1905." Although I'm no expert, this seems pretty hard to believe. Moreover, I know that there is a fair amount of anti-British propaganda about opium use in China connected with the opium wars. Is a citation available? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Jonathan Marshall - Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China, 1927-1945

Page 19

Rajmaan (talk) 16:10, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Edit request should be — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:22, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

 Done. Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:00, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I disagree with the article.

I have a book that states otherwise. Like I stated before the educated are too far away from what is real in this country and in this world. Are you ready to take responsibility for your children? This in no wasy is a threat, I am the furthest thing from stupid and the educated are a lot smarter than I am. I believe the money problem is a worst addiction then drugs. But I can certainly understand why only certain children and people are dying in the streets. I know the rich want to keep their families safe. I understand that fear all too well. But unfortunately my life has been dedicated by someone other than me, to protect our country, no exceptions. I at least understand it just can't be about this country, Whatever I feel for this country has grown into a love for all countries and their people. I can barely breathe as long as I see the danger. And what is the "why". But then I suppose someone rich bought a lot of us. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Error in article

The article says that a modern method of producing opium is to harvest and process mature plants by machine. This is simply not so. No opium is produced from mature plants (poppy straw). Morphine and other opioids are produced from poppy straw, but not opium. The mature poppy straw has very little moisture, and thus no latex, and no opium. In the process of maturing, the fruits not only dehydrate, but the materials of which they consist also undergo some chemical changes.Nomenclator (talk) 17:32, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

That sounds not unreasonable to me, but we really need to have sources for that kind of information, lest it be original research. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:25, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I've seen the sources but I don't have time to search for them. It would be nice if someone would go look for them and add the info. Now, you want sources that say no latex is available from the mature plant, but you willing accept the statement "The modern method [of obtaining opium] is to harvest and process mature plants by machine" without sources. Why different degrees of citation for diff statement - why need citation for has no latex, but accept statement as it without citation? Especially since by definition a mature herbaceous plant, such as a poppy plant, is a plant that has gone to seed, and become dehydrated, and no longer has fluid in its vascular bundles or in its ovaries, or in its seeds, and therefore has no latex. This self-evident, that this kind of plant, a herbaceous plant, is dry when mature, and has no latex. Nomenclator (talk) 20:12, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN. If you want to add more material than was here before, you have the primary responsibility for providing sourcing, so the different degree of expectation for citations comes from when the material showed up, not from the nature of the material (see also WP:NOR). Perhaps, also, we really don't need all that detail in the lead section, with it belonging better somewhere lower on the page. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:20, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Not want to add more material. Want suggest someone else do it. I too lazy. Agree perhaps too much detail, leave out from first paragraph, sentence start with "The modern method." Also leave out next sentence. Maybe move to somewhere further along in in article. Or maybe move info that some morphine is made from poppy straw rather than from opium, to article on morphineNomenclator (talk) 20:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC).

Ballantyne & Mao 2003 seems wrongly cited

In this Wikipedia article it is said "As seen in case studies today, the use of opiates in medicine, namely morphine, is seen as a safe and effective form of treatment for pain even if given over longer periods of time if given in controlled doses.". Is that really correct? Maybe this should be cited from the article:

"Whereas it was previously thought that unlimited dose escalation was at least safe, evidence now suggests that prolonged, high-dose opioid therapy may be neither safe nor effective. It is therefore important that physicians make every effort to control indiscriminate prescribing, even when they are under pressure by patients to increase the dose of opioids."

Especially in the light of this news article: Rx Painkiller Deaths Rising Faster in Women Nopedia (talk) 22:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Wow, yes, you are quite correct about that. The previous wording on the page was going way beyond what mainstream source material would claim. I've rewritten that paragraph accordingly. I didn't add the new material you cited here, thinking that it doesn't really need to be on this page, but if you feel like adding something more than what I wrote, please go ahead. Thanks for catching that. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:27, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

History section overlong

Not that it's bad or uninteresting, but it's reached the point where it should probably be spun off in bulk as History of opium and then dealt with in broader terms here at the main page. Should help with keeping this page well sourced and less edit-heavy and getting it relisted as a GA. — LlywelynII 13:57, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

That's a great idea, actually! See my comment in the section below. Madalibi (talk) 06:25, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Article split

Apropos the above, I'd like to canvass opinion on splitting out some of this article's "Prohibition and conflict in China" section into History of opium in China, itself a new article based on content drawn from Opium Wars, which is on the cusp of a merger with the First Opium War and Second Opium War following a consensus. The rationale is as follows:

  • As per WP:SCOPE "Opium" should be a broad canvas describing the drug itself, its historical and modern usage, geographical distribution and cultural impact, which it does very successfully. The specific details of the historic issues in China are quite worthy of a standalone article, the outline of which now exists in History of opium in China.
  • Per WP:LENGTH, the article is now around 100 kb of prose, which according to the guideline should "Almost certainly be divided".
  • To avoid duplication of content in two articles and avoid creating a content fork.

► Philg88 ◄ Star.pngtalk 12:00, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi Philg88! You're definitely welcome to move to History of opium in China some of the content you find too detailed for this page. This would be a first step toward implementing LlywelynII's also excellent proposal to reduce the size of the history section by moving the details to History of opium (which is now a redirect to Opium#History) and rewriting it in summary style. This article gets about 1 million hits per year (total views for the last 30 days / 30 * 365), so an editor or a group of editors who bring it back to GA status would earn themselves the prestigious Million Award!
Technically, the article is currently 62kB (63124 characters) long. (See this or that script.) According to WP:SIZERULE, this falls under "probably should be divided", but I agree that the article is too top-heavy to be considered balanced. Madalibi (talk) 06:24, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks to Philg88 for taking the initiative. I have some input at the History of Opium in China Talk Page. ch (talk) 17:26, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Just to note, there is a push to separate the cultural aspect of drugs from the purely historical. Opium use has a huge cultural aspect distinct from various wars and prohibition efforts. Opium culture could certainly warrant its own article. --Thoric (talk) 21:07, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

@Thoric: That's certainly a valid observation but it's backwards. If we trim out the historical stuff then what remains can focus on the cultural aspects. First and foremost, we need to avoid a content fork so let's get the history split out first and see how it looks. Best, ► Philg88 ◄ talk 03:41, 18 April 2014 (UTC)