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  • Nikhil Badveli

World's First Drug - "Opium"

It seems taking drugs for enjoyment is not a relatively recent phenomenon. Ancient people thousands of years ago had a plant known as Opium poppy for getting high. It was originated in Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq.

Opium Poppy, the joy plant

The earliest known reference to anything close to the modern day drugs like weed, heroin, cocaine is "Opium", making it the first drug in the world.


Opium is extracted from milky sap of a plant known as Opium poppy. It was in Mesopotamia during 3400 BC that people first started to cultivate this plant.


What did the Ancient people call this drug?

The ancient Sumerians referred to this plant as hul gil in their language. It means Joy Plant in English.

Eventually, the cultivation of Opium has spread to ancient Greece, Persia and Egypt. During the reign of the King Tutankhamen of Egypt in 1300 BC, it's growth flourished.


And then during the middle ages, due to extensive trade relationships between China and Europe through Silk road, this drug got introduced there which subsequently led to wars known as Opium wars.


But the original intention of the first drug was not for pleasure but to relieve pain and put people to sleep. Even the great Greek poet Homer talks about opium's healing powers in his book Odyssey.



Pablo Escobar, Colombian drug lord

Did you know?


Today drugs such as Marijuana, Cocaine led to the birth of drug kingpins such as the notorious Pablo Escobar from Colombia.


They became so rich and influential that even their governments get overpowered due to the large network of underlings.


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