Opium Substances

(Opiates, Morphine, Heroin, Codeine)




Opium is extracted from the thickened dried juice of unripe capsules of the opium poppy. Morphine is the major constituent (4 to 21%) of the juice, which also contains codeine (0.7 to 2.5%) and thebaine among other substances. Heroin was first synthesized in 1898 by treating morphine with acetic-acid.


Opium was already being extracted in the 4th century BC. The name “opium” derives from the Greek “juice of the earth”. Paracelsus was the first person in Europe to use opium extracts. During the 19th century a diversity of substances were isolated from opium, eg. morphine, heroin, codeine, papaverine, thebaine, etc.
The major growing areas for opium are: the Balkan countries, Middle East, the Far East, the “golden triangle” between Burma, Laos and Thailand, Mexico and Colombia. Of course, probably the biggest producer of all is Afghanistan , now even famous for its notorious “poppy fields”.


All opium-derived substances are normally injected intravenously; occasionally they are smoked, sniffed or swallowed (little effect).


The effect lasts for 3 to 6 hours.

Detection in Urine:  

2 to 4 days.

Potential Dependence and Physical Harm:    

Potential physical dependence: HIGH
Potential psychic dependence: MEDIUM

  • The opium-derived substances have a toxicity of approximately 200mg.
  • Opium substances have an analgesic and euphoretic effect as a result of their docking directly on to the endorphin receptors. The strongest euphoria is generated by heroin. Regular use over even a short period can lead to severe psychic and physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms appear if the substance is not taken. Acute dangers are unconsciousness and suffocation in vomit, fatal respiratory paralysis caused by an overdose, or poisonous substances which have been mixed with the drug.


There is a special risk of infection (hepatitis, HIV) through the use of non-sterile needles. Can all be detected with  NARCOTICS DETECTOR.

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