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Opium is a black or brown tarry substance that comes from the opium poppy. It contains a number of chemicals, called alkaloids, which have medicinal properties, such as morphine, codeine, papaverine, and thebaine. Other drugs can be synthesized from these chemicals, such as heroin from morphine and oxycodone from thebaine. Opium had a long history of medicinal use in many cultures before it became popular as a recreational drug in the 19th century. It is still used today in many parts of the world as an herbal medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

The medicinal use of opium likely dates back to the Neolithic Age, as opium seeds have been found at a number of archaeological sites. Later use occurred in Rome and Greece throughout ...

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