Provides a detailed look at opium today in the context of its long history of use as a therapeutic and recreational drug. Opium use dates back 7000 years - longer than any other drug. This book looks at social changes and how they have affected perceptions of opium. Dr. Thomas Sydenham wrote, "Among the remedies which it has pleased the Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium." From this gloving description of opium - written 325 years ago - to today, perceptions of opium have changed dramatically. Opium is now looked upon with fear more than anything else; along with its derivatives, opium is the most controlled drug in existence - some derivatives are unavailable even with a doctor's prescription.
The pharmacology and effects are discussed in non-technical terms. Drugs derived from opium, like heroin, and drugs created entirely in the lab, such as methadone, are explained.
Opium aids in "harm reduction" by providing useful information that can save lives of people using or experimenting with opium or its derivative. It will also help people better understand their medical treatment when faced with various
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