chapter  1
17 Pages

Narcotics and Narcotic Regulations to 1937

Opium and the opiates-natural, semisynthetic, and fully syntheticcompose a class of drugs that are perhaps the most-often misunderstood by the general public. Opium itself is the dried sap from the seed pod of the Papaver somniferum plant. This substance has been known for 6,000 years or more and has been widely used in medicine and as a recreational substance since the time of the ancient Greeks (see Faupel, Horowitz, and Weaver, 2004, Chapter 2, for a history). In terms of medicine, no class of drug has been more useful than the opiates. The natural opiates include opium itself and tinctures of opium (such as paregoric or laudenum), morphine, and codeine. Other opiates include heroin, a semisynthetic opiate made by adding two acetyl groups to morphine, and fully synthetic opiates, which make up a very long list indeed. They include hydrocodone, propoxyphene, methadone, and the fentanyls.