The poppy plant, Papaver somniferum, produces opium, a robust narcotic whose derivatives embrace morphine, codeine, heroin, and oxycodone. The time period â€œnarcoticâ€ refers to opium, opium derivatives, and their semi-synthetic substitutes. Narcotics are used therapeutically to treat pain, suppress cough, alleviate diarrhea, and induce anesthesia. However, they are a few of essentially the most addictive substances identified to man. As misused medicine, they are sometimes smoked, sniffed, or injected. The earliest reference to opium progress and use is in 3,four hundred B.C. Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia). The Sumerians referred to it as Hul Gil, the joy plant.” The Sumerians soon handed it on to the Assyrians, who in turn passed it on to the Egyptians. As people discovered of the facility of opium, demand for it increased. Many countries began to develop and process opium to broaden its availability and to lower its price. Its cultivation spread along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean through Asia and at last to China the place it was the catalyst for the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s. Today, heroinâ€™s lengthy journey to drug traffickers begins with the planting of opium poppy seeds. Opium is grown primarily by impoverished farmers on small plots in remote areas of the world. It flourishes in dry, warm climates and the vast majority of opium poppies are grown in a slim, 4,500-mile stretch of mountains extending across central Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Burma. Recently, opium has been grown in Latin America, notably Colombia and Mexico. The farmer takes his crop of opium to the nearest village the place he will promote it to the vendor who presents him the best price.