Drug epidemics are clearly not just a peculiar feature of modern life; the opium trade in the nineteenth century tells us a great deal about Asian herion traffic today. In an age when we are increasingly aware of large scale drug use, this book takes a long look at the history of our relationship with mind-altering substances. Engagingly written, with lay readers as much as specialists in mind, this book will be fascinating reading for historians, social scientists, as well as those involved in Asian studies, or economic history.