A narcotic extracted from the immature fruits of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, which is native to Greece and Asia Minor. The milky juice is refined to a powder which has a sharp, bitter taste. Drugs, some drugs of abuse, obtained from opium include the narcotic analgesics, heroin, morphine, and codeine. (Synthetic analogues of these include methadone and pethidine.) Older opium preparations, now rarely used, include laudanum and paregoric. The extraction of opium outside the pharmaceutical industry is strictly controlled in the West.
Related category• HEALTH AND DISEASE
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