Opium - Encyclopedia

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OPIUM (Gr. ii rcov, dim. from 6 r63, juice), a narcotic drug prepared from the juice of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, a plant probably indigenous in the south of Europe and western Asia, but now so widely cultivated that its original habitat is uncertain. The medicinal properties of the juice have been recognized from a very early period. It was known to Theophrastus by the name of µnrceovcov, and appears in his time to have consisted of an extract of the whole plant, since Dioscorides, about A.D. 77, draws a distinction between pn?aiwEcov, which he describes as an extract of the entire herb, and the more active Inros, derived from the capsules alone. From the 1st to the 12th century the opium of Asia Minor appears to have been the only kind known in commerce. In the 13th century opium thebaicum is mentioned by Simon Januensis, physician to Pope Nicholas IV., while meconium was still in use. In the 16th century opium is mentioned by Pyres (1516) as a production of the kingdom of Cous (Kuch Behar, south-west of Bhutan) in Bengal, and of Malwa. 1 Its introduction into India appears to have been connected with the spread of Islam. The opium monopoly was the property of the Great Mogul and was regularly sold. In the 17th century Kaempfer describes the various kinds of opium prepared in Persia, and states that the best sorts were flavoured with spices and called " theriaka." These preparations were held in great estimation during the middle ages, and probably supplied to a large extent the place of the pure drug. Opium is said to have been introduced into China by the Arabs probably in the 13th century, and it was originally used there as a medicine, the introduction of opium-smoking FIG. 1. - Opium Poppy (Papaver being assigned to the somniferum). 1 7th century. In a Chinese Herbal compiled before 1700 both the plant and its inspissated juice are described, together with the mode of collecting it, and in the General History of the Southern Provinces of Yunnan, revised and republished in 1736, opium is noticed as a common product. The first edict prohibiting opium-smoking was issued by the emperor Yung Cheng in 1729. Up to that date the amount imported did not exceed 200 chests, and was usually brought from India by junks as a return cargo. In the year 1757 the monopoly of opium cultivation in India passed into the hands of the East India Company through the victory of Clive at Plassey. Up to 1773 the trade with China had been in the hands of the Portuguese, but in that year the East India Company took the trade under their own charge, and in 1776 the annual export reached 1000 chests, and 5054 chests in 1790. Although the importation was forbidden by the Chinese imperial authorities in 1796, and opium-smoking punished with severe penalties (ultimately increased to transportation and death), the trade continued and had increased during1820-1830to 16,877 chests per annum. The trade was contraband, and the opium was bought by the Chinese from depot ships at the ports. Up to 1839 no effort was made to stop the trade, but in that year the emperor Tao-Kwang sent a commissioner, Lin Tsze-sii, to Canton to put down the traffic. Lin issued a proclamation threatening hostile measures if the British opium ships serving as depots were not sent away. The demand for removal not being complied with, 20,291 chests of opium (of 1493 lb each), valued at £2,000,000, were destroyed by the Chinese commissioner Lin; but still the British sought to 1 Aromatum Historia (ed. Clusius, Ant., 1574).

smuggle cargoes on shore, and some outrages committed on both sides led to an open war, which was ended by the treaty of Nanking in 1842. The importation of opium continued and was legalized in 1858. From that time, in spite of the remonstrances of the Chinese government, the exportation of opium from India to China continued, increasing from 52,925 piculs (of 1333 lb) in 1850 to 96,839 piculs in 1880. While, however, the court of Peking was honestly endeavouring to suppress the foreign trade in opium from 1839 to 1858 several of the provincial viceroys encouraged the trade, nor could the central government put a stop to the home cultivation of the drug. The cultivation increased so rapidly that at the beginning of the 10th century opium was produced in every province of China. The western provinces of Sze-ch`uen, Yun-nan and Kwei-chow yielded respectively 200,000, 30,000 and 15,000 piculs (of 1 333 Ib); Manchuria 15,000; Shen-si, Chih-li and Shan-tung io,000 each; and the other provinces from 5000 to 500 piculs each, the whole amount produced in China in 1906 being estimated at 330,000 piculs, of which the province of Sze-ch`uen produced nearly twothirds. Of this amount China required for home consumption 325,270 piculs, the remainder being chiefly exported to IndoChina, whilst 54,225 piculs of foreign opium were imported into China. Of the whole amount of opium used in China, equal to 22,588 tons, only about one-seventh came from India.

The Chinese government regarding the use of opium as one of the most acute moral and economic questions which.as a nation they have to face, representing an annual loss to the country of 856,250,000 taels, decided in 1906 to put an end to the use of the drug within ten years, and issued an edict on the 10th of September 1906, forbidding the consumption of opium and the cultivation of the poppy. As an indication of their earnestness of purpose the government allowed officials a period of six months in which to break off the use of opium, under heavy penalties if they failed to do so. In October of the same year the American government in the Philippines, having to deal with the opium trade, raised the question of the taking of joint measures for its suppression by the powers interested, and as a result a conference met at Shanghai on the 1st of February 1909 to which China, the United States of America, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal and Russia sent delegates. At this meeting it was resolved that it was the duty of the respective governments to prevent the export of opium to any countries prohibiting its importation; that drastic measures should be taken against the use of morphine; that anti-opium remedies should be investigated; and that all countries having concessions in China should close the opium divans in their possessions. The British government made an offer in 1907 to reduce the export of Indian opium to countries beyond the seas by 5100 chests, i.e. -, th of the amount annually taken by China, each year until the year 1910, and that if during these three years the Chinese government had carried out its arrangements for proportionally diminishing the production and consumption of opium in China, the British government were prepared to continue the same rate of reduction, so that the export of Indian opium to China would cease in ten years; the restrictions of the imports of Turkish, Persian and other opiums being separately arranged for by the Chinese government, and carried out simultaneously. The above proposal was gratefully received by the Chinese government. A non-official report by Mr E. S. Little, after travelling through western China, which appeared in the newspapers in May 1910, stated that all over the province of Sze-ch`uen opium had almost ceased to be produced, except only in a few remote districts on the frontier (see further China: § History). The average annual import of Persian and Turkish opium into China is estimated at 1125 piculs, and if this quantity were to be reduced every year by one-ninth, beginning in 1909, in nine years the import into China would entirely cease, and the Indian, Persian and Turkish opiums no longer be articles of commerce in that country. One result of these regulations was that the price of foreign opium in China rose, a circumstance which was calculated to reduce the loss to the Indian revenue.

Thus in 1909-1910, with only 350,000 acres under cultivation and 40,000 chests of opium in stock, the revenue was 4,420,600 as against 3,572,944 in1905-1906with 613,996 acres under cultivation and a stock of 76,063 chests. No opium dens have been allowed since 1907 in their possessions or leased territories in China by Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia or Japan.

The difficulties of the task undertaken by the Chinese government to eradicate a national and popular vice, in a country whose population is generally estimated at 400,000,000, are increased by the fact that the opium habit has been indulged in by all classes of society, that opium has been practically the principal if not the only national stimulant; that it must involve a considerable loss of revenue, which will have to be made up by other taxes, and by the fact that its cultivation is more profitable than that of cereals, for an English acre will on the average produce raw dry opium of the value of5, 16s. 8d. while it will yield grain valued only at 4, 5s. 6d.

Various remedies for the opium habit have been experimented with in China, but with doubtful success. Under the name of anti-opium cure various remedies containing morphine in the form of powder, or of little pills, have been introduced, as well as the subcutaneous injection of the alkaloid, so that the use of morphine is increasing in China to an alarming extent, and considerable difficulty is experienced in controlling the illicit traffic in it, especially that sent through the post. Its comparative cheapness, one dollar's worth being equal to three dollars' worth of opium in the effect produced, its portability and the facilities offered in obtaining it, are all in its favour. A good deal of morphine is exported to Japan from Europe, and generally passes into China by way of Manchuria, where Japanese products have a virtual monopoly. The effects of morphine are much more deleterious than those of opiumsmoking. The smoke of opium, as shown by H. Moissan, contains only a trifling amount of morphia, and the effect produced by it is apparently due, not to that alkaloid, but to such decomposition products as pyrrol, acetone and pyridine and hydropyridine bases. F. Browne finds that after smoking " chandoo," containing 8.98% of morphine, 7.63% was left in the dross, so that only 1.35% of morphia was carried over in the smoke or decomposed by the heat.

For many years two Scotch firms, Messrs J. D. Macfarlan and T. and H. Smith of Edinburgh, and T. Whiffen of London manufactured practically the world's supply of this alkaloid, but it is now made in the United States and Germany, although the largest amount is still probably made in Great Britain. A small amount of morphine and codeine is also manufactured in India for medicinal use. The prohibition of the general importation of morphia into China except on certain conditions was agreed to by the British government in Act XI. of the Mackay treaty, but only came into force on the 1st of January 1909. Unless the indirect importation of morphine into China from Europe and the United States is stopped, a worse habit and more difficult to cure than any other (except perhaps that. of cocaine) may replace that of opium-smoking in China. It is worse even than opium-eating, in proportion as morphine is more active than opium. The sale and use of morphine in India and Burma is now restricted. The quantity of morphine that any one may legally possess, and then only for medicinal purposes, is in India 10 grams, and in Burma five. The possession of morphine by medical practitioners is also safeguarded by well-defined limitations.

Production and Commerce. - Although the collection of opium is possible in all places where there is not an excessive rainfall and the climate is temperate or subtropical, the yield is smaller in temperate than in tropical regions and the industry can only be profitably carried on where labour and land are sufficiently cheap and abundant; hence production on a large scale is limited to comparatively few countries. The varieties of poppy grown, the mode of cultivation adopted and the character of the opium produced differ so greatly that it will be convenient to consider the opiums of each country separately.

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The poppy cultivated in Asia Minor is the variety glabrum, distinguished by the sub-globular shape of the capsule and by the stigmata or rays at the top of the fruit being ten or twelve in number. The flowers are usually of a purplish colour, but are sometimes white, and the seeds, like the petals, vary in tint from dark violet to white. The cultivation is carried on, both on the more elevated and lower lands, chiefly by peasant proprietors. A naturally light and rich soil, further improved by manure, is necessary, and moisture is indispensable, although injurious in excess, so that after a wet winter the best crops are obtained on hilly ground, and in a dry season on the plains. The land is ploughed twice, the second time crosswise, so that it may be thoroughly pulverized; and the seed, mixed with four times its quantity of sand, to prevent its being sown too thickly, is scattered broadcast, about 4 to 1 lb being used for every toloom (1600 sq. yds.). The crop is very uncertain owing to droughts; spring frosts and locusts, and, ' in order to avoid a total failure and to allow time for collecting the produce, there are three sowings at intervals from October to March - the crops thus coming to perfection in succession. But notwithstanding these precautions quantities of the drug are wasted when the crop is a full one, owing to the difficulty of gathering the whole in the short time during which collection is possible. The first sowing produces the hardiest plants, the yield of the other two depending. almost entirely on favourable weather. In localities where there is hoar frost in autumn and spring the seed is sown in September or at latest in the beginning of October, and the yield of opium and seed is then greater than if sown later. After sowing, the land is harrowed, and the young plants are hoed and weeded, chiefly by women and children, from early spring until the time of flowering. In the plains the flowers expand at the end of May, on the uplands in July. At this period gentle showers are of great value, as they cause an increase in the subsequent yield of opium. The petals fall in a few hours, and the capsules grow so rapidly that in a short time - generally from nine to fifteen days - the opium is fit for collection. This period is known by the capsules yielding to pressure with the fingers, assuming a lighter green tint and exhibiting a kind of bloom called " cougak," easily rubbed off with the fingers; they are then about 12 in. in diameter. The incisions are made by holding the capsule in the left hand and drawing a knife two-thirds round it, or spirally beyond the starting-point (see fig. 2, a), great care being taken not to let the incisions penetrate to the interior lest the juice should flow inside and be lost. (In this case also it is said that the seeds will not ripen, and that no oil can be obtained from them.) The operation is usually performed after the heat of the day, commencing early in the afternoon and continuing to nightfall, and the exuded juice is collected the next morning. This is done by scraping the capsule with a knife and transferring the concreted juice to a poppy-leaf held in the left hand, the edges of the leaf being turned in to avoid spilling the juice, and the knife-blade moistened with saliva by drawing it through the mouth after every alternate scraping to prevent the juice from adhering to it. When as much. opium has been collected as the size of the leaf will allow, another leaf is wrapped over the top of the lump, which is then placed in the shade to dry for several days. The pieces vary in size from about 2 oz. to over 2 lb, being made larger in some districts than in others. The capsules are generally incised only once, but the fields are visited a second or third time to collect the opium from the poppy-heads subsequently developed by the branching of the stem. The yield of opium varies, even on the same piece of land, from a to 72 chequis (of 1.62 lb) per toloom (1600 sq. yds.), the average being 1z chequis of opium and 4 bushels q (of 50 lb) of seed. The seed, which yields 35 to 42% of oil, is worth about two-thirds of the value of the opium. The whole of the operation must, of course, be completed in the few days - five to ten - during which the capsules are capable of yielding the drug: A cold wind or a chilly atmosphere at the time of collection lessens the yield, and rain washes the opium off the capsules. Before the crop is all gathered in a meeting of buyers and sellers takes place in each district, at which the price to be asked is discussed and settled, and the opium handed to the buyers, who in many instances have advanced money on the standing crop. When sufficiently solid the pieces of opium are packed in cotton bags, a quantity of the fruits of a species of Rumex being thrown in to prevent the cakes from adhering together. The bags are then sealed up, packed in oblong or circular baskets and sent to Smyrna or other ports on mules. On the arrival of the opium at its destination, in the end of July or beginning of August, it is placed in cool warehouses to avoid loss of weight until sold. The opium is then of a mixed character and is known as talequale. When transferred to the buyer's warehouses the bags are opened and each piece is examined by a public inspector in the presence of both buyer and seller, the quality of the opium being judged by appearance, odour, colour and weight. It is then sorted into three qualities: (1) finest quality; (2) current or second; (3) chicanti or rejected pieces. A fourth sort consists of the very bad or wholly factitious pieces. The substances used to adulterate opium are grape-juice thickened with flour, fig-paste, liquorice, half-dried apricots, inferior gum tragacanth and sometimes clay or pieces of lead or other metals. The chicanti is returned to the seller, who disposes of it at 20 to 30% discount to French and German merchants. After inspection the opium is hermetically sealed in tin-lined boxes containing about 150 lb. Turkey opium is principally used in medicine on account of its purity and the large percentage of morphia that it contains, a comparatively small quantity being exported for smoking purposes.

About three-quarters of the opium prepared in Turkey is produced in Anatolia, and is exported by way of Smyrna, and the remainder is produced in the hilly districts of the provinces near the southern coast of the Black Sea, and finds its way into Constantinople, the commercial varieties bearing the name of the district where they are produced. The Smyrna varieties include the produce of Afium Karahissar, Uschak, Akhissar, Taoushanli, Isbarta, Konia, Bulvadan, Hamid, Magnesia and Yerli, the last name being applied to opium collected in the immediate neighbour " hood of Sm y rna. The opium exported by way of Constantinople includes that of Hadjikeuy and Malatia; the Tokat kind, of good quality, including that produced in Yosgad, Sile and Niksar, and the current or second quality derived from Amasia and Oerek; the Karahissar kind including the produce of Mykalitch, Carabazar, Sivrahissar, Eskichehir. and Nachlihan; the Balukesri sort, including that of Balukhissar and Bogaditch; also the produce of Beybazar and Angora. The average amount of Turkish opium exported is 7000 chests, but in rare seasons amounts to 12,000 chests, but the yield depends upon fine weather in harvest time, heavy rains washing the opium off the capsules, and lessening the yield to a considerable extent.

These commercial varieties differ in appearance and quality, and are roughly classified as Soft or Shipping opium, Druggists' and Manufacturers' opium. Shipping opium is distinguished by its soft character and clean paste, containing very little debris, or chaff, as it is technically called. The Hadjikeuy variety is at present the best in the market. The Malatia, including that of Kharput, second, and the Sile, third in quality. The chief markets for the soft or shipping varieties of opium are, China, Korea, the West Indian Islands, Cuba, British Guiana, Japan and Java; the United States also purchase for re-exportation as well as for home consumption. Druggists' opium includes the kinds purchased for use in medicine, which for Great Britain should, when dried and powdered, contain 92-101% of morphine. That generally sold in this country for the purpose includes the Karahissar and Adet, Balukhissar, Amasia and Akhissar kinds, and for making the tincture and extract, that of Tokat. But the produce of Gheve, Biledjik, Mondourlan, Konia, Tauschanli, Kutahlia and Karaman is often mixed with the kinds first mentioned. The softer varieties of opium are preferred in the American market, as being richer in morphine. In all Turkey opium the pieces vary much in size. On the continent of Europe, especially in Belgium, Germany and Italy, where pieces of small size are preferred, the Gheve,' and the Yoghourma, i.e. opium remade into cakes, at the port of shipment, to contain 7, 8, 9, or 10% of morphine, are chiefly sold. Manufacturers' opium includes any grade yielding not less than 102% of morphine, but the Yoghourma or " pudding " opium, on account of its paste being more difficult to work, is not used for the extraction of the active principles. For the extraction of codeine, the Persian opium is preferred when Turkey opium is dear, as it contains on the average 22% of that alkaloid, whilst Turkey opium yields only 2-4%. But codeine can also be made from morphine.

The ordinary varieties of Turkish opium are recognized in commerce by the following characteristics: Hadjikeuy opium occurs in pieces of about 2 1b-12 lb; it has an unusually pale-coloured paste of soft consistence, and is very rich in morphia. Malatia opium is in pieces of irregular size usually of a broadly conical shape, weighing from 1-2 lb. It has a soft paste with irregular layers of light and dark colour and is covered with unusually green poppy leaves. Tokat opium resembles that of Malatia, but the cakes are flatter, and the paste is similar in character, though the leaves covering it are of a yellower tint of green. Bogaditz opium occurs in smaller pieces, about 3 or 4 oz. in weight, but sometimes larger pieces of I-I a lb in weight are met with, approaching more nearly to the Kurgagatsch and Balukissar varieties. The surface is covered with a yellowish green leaf and many Rumex fruits. Karahissar opium, which usually includes the produce of Adet, Akhissar and Amasia, occurs in rather large shortly conical or more or less irregular lumps. Angora opium is met with in small smooth pieces, has generally a pale paste and is rich in morphia. Yerli opium is of good quality, variable in size and shape; the surface is usually rough with Rumex capsules. Gheve opium formerly came over as a distinct kind, but is now mixed with other varieties; the pieces form small rounded cakes, smooth and shining like those of Angora, about 3-6 oz. in weight, with the midrib of the leaf they are wrapped in forming a median line on the surface. The interior often shows layers of light and dark colour.

In Macedonia opium culture was begun in 1865 at Istip with seed obtained from Karahissar in Asia Minor, and extended subsequently to the adjacent districts of Kotchava, Stroumnitza, Tikvish and Kinprulu-veles, most of the produce being exported under the name of Salonica opium. Macedonian opium, especially that 1 Gheve is the commercial name for opium from Geiveh on the river Sakaria, running into the Black Sea. It appears to find its way to Constantinople via the port of Ismid, and hence is known also by the latter name.

produced at Istip, is very pure, and is considered equal to the Malatia opium, containing about II % of morphine. The pieces vary from 4 lb to 1 z lb in weight. For some years past, however, it .has been occasionally mixed with pieces of inferior opium, like that of Yoghourma, recognizable on cutting by their solidity and heavy character. The Turkish government encourage the development of the industry by remitting the tithes on opium and poppy-seed for one year on lands sown for the first time, and by distributing printed instructions for cultivating the poppy and preparing the opium. In these directions it is pointed out that the opium crop is ten times as profitable as that of wheat. Four varieties of poppy are distinguished - two with white flowers, large oval capsules without holes under their " combs " (stigmas) and bearing respectively yellow and white seed, and the other two having red or purple flowers and seeds of the same colour, one bearing small capsules, perforated at the top, and the other larger oval capsules not perforated. The white varieties are recommended as yielding a. more abundant opium of superior quality. The yellow seed is said to yield the best oil; that obtained by hot pressure is used for lamps and for paint, and the cold-pressed oil for culinary purposes.

Opium is also grown in Bulgaria, but almost entirely for home consumption; any surplus produce is, however, bought by Jews, and Turks at low prices and sent to Constantinople, where it is sold as Turkish opium. It is produced in the districts of Kustendil,, Lowtscha and Halitz, and is made into lumps weighing about 4 oz., of a light-brown colour internally and containing a few seeds; it is covered with leaves which have not been identified. Samples have yielded from 7 to 19% of morphia, and only 2 to 3% of ash, and are therefore of excellent quality.


The poppy grown in India is usually the white-flowered variety, but in the Himalayas a red-flowered poppy with dark seeds is cultivated. The opium industry in Bengal is a government monopoly, under the control of officials residing respectively at Patna and Ghazipore. Any one may undertake the industry,, but cultivators are obliged to sell the opium exclusively to the government agent at a price fixed beforehand by the latter, which,. although small, is said to fully remunerate the grower. It is considered that with greater freedom the cultivator would produce too great a quantity, and loss to the government would soon result. Advances of money are often made by the government to enable the ryots to grow the poppy. The chief centres of production are Bihar in Bengal, and the district of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh lying along the Gangetic valley, and north of it, of which the produce is known as Bengal opium. The opium manufactured at Patna is of two classes, viz. Provision opium manufactured for' export, and Excise or Akbari opium intended for local consumption in India. These differ in consistence: Excise opium is prepared to contain 90% of non-volatile solid matter and made up into cubes. weighing one seer or 22 & 1b, and wrapped in oiled paper, whilst Provision opium is made up into balls, protected by a leafy covering, made of poppy petals, opium and " pussewah," or liquid drainings of the crude opium; that of Patna is made to contain 75% of solid matter, and that of Ghazipore, which is known as Benares opium,. 71% only. Each ball consists of a little over 31 lb of fine opium, in addition to other poppy products. The Benares ball opium has. about II oz. less of the external covering than the Patna sort. Forty of these balls are packed in each chest. The Excise opium not having a covering of poppy petals lacks the aroma of Provision opium. Malwa opium is produced in a large number of states in the Central India and Rajputana Agencies, chiefly Gwalior, Indore and Bhopal, in the former, and Mewar in the latter. It is also produced in the native state of Baroda, and in the small British territory of Ajmer Merwara. The cultivation of Malwa opium is free and extremely profitable, the crop realizing usually from three to. seven times the value of wheat or other cereals, and in exceptionally advantageous situations, from twelve to twenty times as much. On its entering British territory a heavy duty is imposed on Malwa opium, so as to raise its price to an equality with the government article. It is shipped from Bombay to northern China, where nearly the whole of the exported Malwa opium is consumed. The poppy is grown for opium in the Punjab to a limited extent, but it has been decided to entirely abolish the cultivation there within a short time. In Nepal, Bashahr and Rampur, and at Doda Kashtwar in the Jammu territory, opium is produced and exported to Yarkand, Khotan and Aksu. The cultivation of the poppy is also carried on in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal and the Shan states of Burma, but the areas and production are not known.

A small amount of opium alkaloids only is manufactured in India. The surplus above that issued to government medical institutions in India is sold in London. The amount manufactured in 1906-1907 was 346 lb of morphine hydrochlorate, 12 lb of the acetate and 61 lb of codeia.

The land intended for poppy culture is usually selected near villages, in order that it may be more easily manured and irrigated. On a rich soil a crop of maize or vegetables is grown during the rainy season, and after its removal in September the ground is prepared for the poppy-culture. Under less favourable circumstances the land is prepared from July till October by ploughing, weeding and manuring. The seed is sown between the 1st and 15th of November, acid germinates in ten or fifteen days. The fields are divided for purposes of irrigation into beds about 10 ft. square, which usually are irrigated twice between November and February, but if the season be cold, with hardly any rain, the operation is repeated five or six times. When the seedlings are 2 or 3 in. high they are thinned out and weeded. The plants during growth are liable to injury by severe frost, excessive rain, insects, fungi and the growth of a root-parasite (Orobanche indica). The poppy blossoms about the middle of February, and the petals when about to fall are collected for the purpose of making " leaves " for the spherical coverings of the balls of opium. These are made by heating a circular-ridged earthen plate over a slow fire, and spreading the petals, a few at a time, over its surface. As the juice exudes, more petals are pressed on to them with a cloth until a layer of sufficient thickness is obtained. The leaves are forwarded to the opium-factories, where they are sorted into three classes, according to size and colour, the smaller and dark-coloured being reserved for the inside of the shells of the opium-balls, and the larger and least coloured for the outside. These are valued respectively at 10 to 7 and 5 rupees per maund of 82, 2 7 lb. The collection of opium commences in Behar about 25th February, and continues to about 25th March, but in Malwa is performed in March and April. The capsules are scarified vertically (fig. 2, b) in most districts (although in some the incisions are made horizontally, as in Asia Minor), the " nushtur " or cutting instrument being drawn twice upwards for each incision, and repeated two to six times at intervals of two or three days. The nushtur (fig. 2, c) consists of three to five flattened b FIG. 2. - Opium Poppy Capsules, &c., a natural size. a, capsule showing mode of incision practised in Turkey; b, capsule as incised in India; c, nushtur, or instrument used in India for making the incisions. Drawn from specimens in the Museum of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

blades forked at the larger end, and separated about one-sixteenth of an inch from each other by winding cotton thread between them, the whole being also bound together by thread, and the protrusion of the points being restricted to one-twelfth of an inch, by which the depth of the incision is limited. The operation is usually performed about three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and the opium collected the next morning. In Bengal a small sheet-iron scoop or " seetoah" is used for scraping off the dried juice, and, as it becomes filled, the opium is emptied into an earthen pot carried for the purpose. In Malwa a flat scraper is employed, a small piece of cotton soaked in linseed oil being attached to the upper part of the blade, and used for smearing the thumb and edge of the scraper to prevent adhesion of the juice; sometimes water is used instead of oil, but both practices injure the quality of the product. Sometimes the opium is in a fluid state by reason of dew, and in some places it is rendered still more so by the practice adopted by collectors of washing their scrapers, and adding the washings to the morning's collection. The juice, when brought home, is consequently a wet granular mass of pinkish colour, from which a dark fluid drains to the bottom of the vessel. In order to get rid of this fluid, called " pasewa " or " pussewah," the opium is placed in a shallow earthen vessel tilted on one side, and the pussewah drained off. The residual mass is then exposed to the air in the shade, and regularly turned over every few days, until it has reached the proper consistence, which takes place in about three or four weeks. The drug is then taken to the government factory to be sold. It is turned out of the pots into wide tin vessels or " tagars," in which it is weighed in quantities not exceeding 21 lb. It is then examined by a native expert (purkhea) as to impurities, colour, fracture, aroma and consistence. To determine the amount of moisture, which should not exceed 30%, a weighed sample is evaporated and dried in a plate on a metallic surface heated by steam. Adulterations such as mud, sand, powdered charcoal, soot, cow-dung, powdered poppy petals and powdered seeds of various kinds are easily detected by breaking up the drug in cold water. Flour, potato-flour, ghee and ghoor (crude datesugar) are revealed by their odour and the consistence they impart.

Various other adulterants are sometimes used, such as the inspissated juice of the prickly pear, extracts from tobacco, stramonium and hemp, pulp of the tamarind and bael fruit, mahwah flowers and gums of different kinds. The price paid to the cultivator is regulated chiefly by the amount of water containedin the drug. When received into the government stores the opium is kept in large wooden boxes holding about 50 maunds and occasionally stirred up, if only a little below the standard. If containing much water it is placed in shallow wooden drawers and constantly turned over. During the process it deepens in colour. From the store about 250 inaunds are taken daily to be manufactured into cakes.

Various portions, each weighing 10 seers (of 23 5 lb), are selected by test assay so as to ensure the mass being of standard consistence (70% of the pure dry drug and 30% of water), and are thrown into shallow drawers and kneaded together. The mass is then packed into boxes all of one size, and a specimen of each again assayed, the mean of the whole being taken as the average. Before evening these boxes are emptied into wooden vats 20 ft. long, 32 ft. wide and 14 ft. deep, and the opium further kneaded and mixed by men wading through it from end to end until it appears to be of a uniform consistence. Next morning the manufacture of the opium into balls commences. The workman sits on a wooden stand, with a brass cup before him, which he lines with the leaves of poppy petals before-mentioned until the thickness of half an inch is reached, a few being allowed to hang over the cup; the leaves are agglutinated by means of " lewa," a pasty fluid which consists of a mixture of inferior opium, 8% of " pussewah " and the " dhoe " or washings of the vessels that have contained opium, and the whole is made of such consistence that 100 grains evaporated to dryness over a water-bath leave 53 grains of solid residue. All the ingredients for the opium-ball are furnished to the workmen by measure. When the inside of the brass cup is ready a ball of opium previously weighed is placed on the leafy case in it, and the upper half of it covered with leaves in the same way that the casing for the lower half was made, the overhanging leaves of the lower half being pressed upwards and the sphere completed by one large leaf which is placed over the upper half. The ball, which resembles a Dutch cheese in size and shape, is now rolled in " poppy trash " made from the coarselypowdered leaves, capsules and stalks of the poppy plant, and is placed in an earthen cup of the same size as the brass one; the cups are then placed in dishes and the opium exposed to the sun to dry for three days, being constantly turned and examined. If it becomes distended the ball is pierced to liberate the gas and again lightly closed. On the third evening the cups are placed in open frames which allow free circulation of the air. This operation is usually completed by the end of July. The balls thus made consist on the average of: Standard opium. .. .. I seer 7.50 chittacks.

Lewa. .. .

.. o


Leaves (poppy petals)

. o


Poppy trash. .

.. o


2 seers 1.18 chittacks.

The average number of cakes that can be made daily by one man is about 70, although 90 to 100 are sometimes turned out by clever workmen. The cakes are liable to become mildewed, and require constant turning and occasional rubbing in dry " poppy trash " to remove the mildew, and strengthening in weak places with fresh poppy leaves. By October the cakes are dry and fairly solid, and are then packed in chests, which are divided into two tiers of twenty square compartments for the reception of as many cakes, which are steadied by a packing of loose poppy trash.' Each case contains about 120 catties (about 160 lb). The chests need to be kept in a dry warehouse for a length of time, but ultimately the opium ceases to lose moisture to the shell, and the latter becomes extremely solid.

The care bestowed on the selection and preparation of the drug in the Bengal opium-factories is such that the merchants who purchase it rarely require to examine it, although permission is given to open at each sale any number of chests or cakes that they may desire.

In Malwa the opium is manufactured by private enterprise, the government levying an export duty of 600 rupees (60) per chest. It is not made into balls but into rectangular or rounded masses, and is not cased in poppy petals. It contains as much as 95% of dry opium, but is of much less uniform quality than the Bengal drug, and, having no guarantee as to purity, is not considered so valuable. The cultivation in Malwa does not differ in any important particular from that in Bengal. The opium is collected in March and April, and the crude drug or " chick " is thrown into an earthen vessel and covered with linseed oil to prevent evaporation. In this state it is sold to itinerant dealers. It is afterwards tied up in quantities of 25 lb and 50 lb in double bags of sheeting, which are suspended to a ceiling out of the light and draught to allow the excess of oil to drain off. This takes place in seven to ten days, but the bags are left for four to six weeks until the oil remaining on the opium has become oxidized and hardened. In June and July, when the rains begin, the bags are taken down and emptied 1 This is purchased from the ryots at 12 annas per maund.

into shallow vats to to 15 ft. across, and 6 to 8 in. deep, in which the opium is kneaded until uniform in colour and consistence and tough enough to be formed into cakes of 8 or 10 oz. in weight. These are thrown into a basket containing chaff made from the capsules. They are then rolled in broken leaves and stalks of the poppy and left, with occasional turning, for a week or so, when they become hard enough to bear packing. In October and November they are weighed and sent to market, packed in chests containing as nearly as possible i picul = 133 31b, the petals and leaves of the poppy being used as packing materials. The production is said to amount to about 20,000 chests annually.

The amount of opium revenue collected in India was £10,480,051 in 1881, but in1907-1908was only £5,244,986. It is a remarkable fact that the only Indian opium ever seen in England is an occasional sample of the Malwa sort, whilst the government monopoly opium is quite unknown; indeed, the whole of the opium used in medicine in Europe and the United States is obtained from Turkey. This is in some measure due to the fact that Indian opium contains less morphia. It has recently been shown, however, that opium grown in the hilly districts of the Himalayas yields 50% more morphia than that of the plains, and that the deficiency of morphia in the Indian drug is due, in some measure, to the long exposure to the air in a semi-liquid state which it undergoes. In view, therefore, of the probable decline in the Chinese demand, the cultivation of the drug for the European market in the hilly districts of India, and its preparation after the mode adopted in Turkey, viz., by drying the concrete juice as quickly as possible, might be worthy of the consideration of the British government.


The variety of poppy grown in Persia appears to be P. somniferum, var. album, having roundish ovate capsules. It is most largely produced in the districts of Ispahan, Shiraz, Yezd and Khonsar, and to a less extent in those of Khorasan, Kermanshah and Fars. The Yezd opium is considered better than that of Ispahan, but the strongest or Theriak-e-Arabistani is produced in the neighbourhood of Dizful and Shuster, east of the river Tigris. Good opium is also produced about Sari and Balfarush in the province of Mazanderan. The capsules are incised vertically, or in some districts vertical cuts with diagonal branches are made. The crop is collected in May and June and reaches the ports for exportation between August and January. Although the cultivation of opium in Persia was probably carried on at an earlier date than in India, Persian opium was almost unknown in England until about the year 1870, except in the form of the inferior quality known as " Trebizond," which usually contains only 0.2 to 3% of morphia. This opium is in the form of cylindrical sticks about 6 in. long and half an inch in diameter, wrapped in white waxed or red paper. Since 1870 Persian opium has been largely exported from Bushire and Bandar-Abbas in the Persian Gulf to London, the Straits Settlements and China. At that date the annual yield is said not to have exceeded 2600 cases; but, the profits on opium having about that time attracted attention, all available ground was utilized for this to the exclusion of cereals, cotton and other produce. The result was a severe famine in 1871-1872, which was further aggravated by drought and other circumstances. Notwithstanding the lesson thus taught, the cultivation is being extended every year, especially in Ispahan, which abounds in streams and rivers, an advantage in which Yezd is deficient. About Shiraz, Behbehan and Kermanshah it now occupies much of the land, and has consequently affected the price and growth of cereals. The trade - only 300 chests in 1859 - gradually increased until 1877, when the Persian opium was much adulterated with glucose. The heavy losses on this inferior opium and the higher prices obtained for the genuine article led to a great improvement in its preparation, and in 1907 the production had increased to 10,000 piculs. About half of the total produce finds its way to the Chinese market, chiefly by sea to Hongkong and the Federated Malay States, although some is carried overland through Bokhara, Khokand and Kashgar; a small quantity is exported by way of Trebizond and Samsun to Constantinople, and about 2000 piculs to Great Britain. The produce of Ispahan and Fars is carried for exportation to Bushire, and that of Khorasan and Kirman and Yezd partly to Bushire and partly to Bandar-Abbas. The Shuster opium is sent partly via Bushire to Muscat for transhipment to Zanzibar, and part is believed to be smuggled into India by way of Baluchistan and Mekran. Smaller quantities grown in Teheran, Tabriz and Kermanshah find their way to Smyrna, where it is said to be mixed with the local drug for the European market, the same practice being carried on at Constantinople with the Persian opium that arrives there from Samsun and Trebizond. For the Chinese market the opium is usually packed in chests containing 102 shahmans (of 131 Ib), so that on arrival it may weigh 1 Chinese picul (=1331 lb), 5 to io% being allowed for loss by drying. At Ispahan, Shiraz and Yezd the drug, after being dried in the sun, is mixed with oil in the proportion of 6 or 7 Ib to 141 lb of opium, with the object, it is said, of suiting the taste of the Chinese - that intended for the London market being now always free from oil.

Persian opium, as met with in the London market, occurs in several forms, the most common being that of brick-shaped pieces. These occur wrapped separately in paper, and weighing 1 lb each; of these 140-160 are packed in a case. Ispahan opium also occurs in the form of parallelopipeds weighing about 16-20 oz.; sometimes flat circular pieces weighing about 20oz. are met with. The opium is usually of much firmer and smoother consistence than that of Turkey, of a chocolate-brown colour and cheesy appearance, the pieces bearing evidence of having been beaten into a uniform mass previously to being made into lumps, probably with the addition of Sarcocoll, as it is always harder when dry than Turkey opium. The odour differs but slightly, except in oily specimens, from that of Turkey opium. Great care is now taken to prevent adulteration, and consequently Persian opium can be obtained nearly as rich in morphia as the Turkish drug - on the average from 9-12%. The greater proportion of the Persian opium imported into London is again exported, a comparatively small quantity being used, chiefly for the manufacture of codeine when Turkey opium is dear, and a little in veterinary practice. According to Dr Reveil, Persian opium usually contains 75 to 84% of matter soluble in water, and some samples contain from 13 to 30% of glucose, probably due to an extract or syrup of raisins added to the paste in the pots in which it is collected, and to which the shining fracture of hard Persian opium is attributed.


Experiments made in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Spain, Germany, and even in Sweden, prove that opium as rich in morphia as that of Eastern countries can be produced in Europe. In 1830 Young, a surgeon at Edinburgh, succeeded in obtaining 56 lb of opium from an acre of poppies, and sold it at 36s. per lb.In France the cultivation has been carried on since 1844 at Clermont-Ferrand by Aubergier. The juice, of which a workman is able to collect about 9.64 troy oz. in a day, is evaporated by artificial heat immediately after collection. The juice yields about one-fourth of its weight of opium, and the percentage of morphia varies according to the variety of poppy used, the purple one giving the best results. By mixing assayed samples he is able to produce an opium containing uniformly 10% of morphia. It is made up in cakes of 50 grammes, but is not produced in sufficient quantity to become an article of wholesale commerce. Some specimens of French opium have been found by Guibourt to yield 22.8% of morphia, being the highest percentage observed as' yet in any opium. Experiments made in Germany by Karsten, Jobst and Vulpius have shown that it is possible to obtain in that country opium of excellent quality, containing from 8 to 13% of morphia. It was found that the method yielding the best results was to make incisions in the poppy-heads soon after sunrise, to collect the juice with the finger immediately after incision and evaporate it as speedily as possible, the colour of the opium being lighter and the percentage of morphia greater than when the juice was allowed to dry on the plant. Cutting through the poppy-head caused the shrivelling up of the young fruit, but the heads which had been carefully incised yielded more seed than those which had not been cut at all. Newly-manured soil was found to act prejudicially on the poppy. The giant variety of poppy yielded most morphia.

The difficulty of obtaining the requisite amount of cheap labour at the exact time it is needed and the uncertainty of the weather render the cultivation of opium too much a matter of speculation for it ever to become a regular crop in most European countries.

North America

In 1865 the cultivation of opium was attempted in Virginia by A. Robertson, and a product was obtained which yielded 4% of morphia. In 1867 H. Black grew opium in Tennessee which contained to % of morphia. Opium produced in California by H. Flint in 1873 yielded 74% of morphia, equal to to % in perfectly-dried opium. The expense of cultivation exceeded the returns obtained by its sale. As in Europe, therefore, the high price of labour militates against its production on a large scale.








5. o

Lanthopine ..






Protopine. .











Iritopine. .







Cryptopine. .



Meconine. .






(E. M. H.) Chemistry of the Opium Alkaloids. - The chemical investigation of opium dates from 1803 when C. Derosne isolated a crystalline compound which he named " opium salt." In 1805 F. W. Sertiirner, a German apothecary, independently obtained this same substance, naming it " morphium," and recognized its basic nature; he also isolated an acid, meconic acid. A second paper, published in 1817, was followed in the same year by the identification of a new base, narcotine, by P. J. Robiquet. Thebaine, another alkaloid, was discovered by Thiboumery in 1835; whilst, in 1848, Merck isolated papaverine from commercial narcotine. Subsequent investigations have revealed some twenty or more alkaloids, the more important of which are given in the following table (from A. Pictet, Vegetable Opium also contains a gum, pectin, a wax, sugar and similar substances, in addition to meconic and lactic acids.

The alkaloids fall into two chemical groups: (i) derivatives of isoquinoline, including papaverine, narcotine, gnoscopine (racemic narcotine), narceine, laudanosine, laudanine, cotarnine, hydrocotarnine (the last two do not occur in opium), and (2) derivatives of phenanthrene, including morphine, codeine, thebaine. The constitutions of the first series have been determined; of the second they are still uncertain.

Papaverine, C20H21N04, was investigated by G. Goldschmiedt (Monats., 1883-1889), who determined its constitution (formula I., below) by a study of its oxidation products, showing that papaveraldine, which it gives with potassium permanganate, is a tetramethoxybenzoylisoquinoline. Its synthesis, and also that of laudanosine, C21H27N04, which is N-methyltetrahydropapaverine, was effected in 1909 by F. L. Pyman (Jour. Chem. Soc., 95, p. 1610) and by A. Pictet and Mlle M. Finkelstein (Comet. rend., 1909, 148, P. 925). Laudanine, C20H25N04, is very similar to laudanosine, differing in having three methoxy groups and one hydroxy instead of four methoxy.

Narcotine, C22H23N07, has been principally investigated by A. Matthiessen and G. C. Foster, and by W. Roser (Ann., 1888, 249, p. 156; 1889, 2 54, p. 334.) By hydrolysis it yields opianic acid, C10H1005, and hydrocotarnine, C 12 1-1 15 NO 3; reduction gives meconine, C10H1004, and hydrocotarnine; whilst oxidation gives opianic acid and cotarnine, C12H15N04. Narcotine was shown to be methoxyhydrastine (II.) (hydrastine, the alkaloid of Golden seal, Hydrastis canadensis, was solved by E. Schmidt, M. Freund, and P. Fritsch) and cotarnine to be III.; the latter has been synthesized by A. H. Salway (Jour. Chem. Soc., 1910, 97, p. 1208). Narceine, C23H27N08, obtained by the action of potash on the methyl iodide of narcotine, is probably IV. (see Pyman, loc. cit. pp. 1266, 1738; M. Freund and P. Oppenheim, Ber., 1909, 42, p. 1084).

The proprietary drug " stypticin " is cotarnine hydrochloride, and " styptol " cotarnine phthalate; " antispasmin " is a sodium narceine combined with sodium salicylate, and " narcyl " narceine ethyl hydrochloride.

OMe CH2 OMe MeO" OMe CH ?o^,/ ,CH 2 MeO McO I ^ VN/ H2 NMe 02CN/ MeO CH - CH - ' I.Papaverine II.Narcotine CH 2 CH2 OMe CH? O^ / 1 CH2 CH 0?/ICH2 MeO 2 0 / NHMe 0 / NMe 2 H02C MeO CHO MeO 2 III. Cotarnine IV.Narceine The chemistry of morphine, codeine and thebaine is exceedingly complicated, and the literature enormous. That these alkaloids are closely related may be suspected from their empirical formulae, viz.morphine = C17H19N03, codeine = C18H21N03, thebaine = C19H21N03. As a matter of fact, Grimaux, in 1881, showed codeine to be a methylmorphine, and in 1903 Ach and L. Knorr (Ber., 36, p. 3067) obtained identical substances, viz. thebenine and morphothebaine, from both codeine and thebaine, thereby establishing their connexion. Our knowledge of the constitution of these alkaloids largely depends on the researches of M. Freund, E. Vongerichten, L. Knorr and R. Pschorr. The presence of the phenanthrene nucleus and the chain system CH 3 NCCfollows from the fact that these alkaloids, by appropriate treatment, yield a substituted phenanthrene and also dimethylaminoethanol (CH3)2NCH2CH20H. Formulae have been proposed by Pschorr and Knorr explaining this and other decompositions (in Pschorr's formula the morphine ring system is a fusion of a phenanthrene and pyridine nucleus); another formula, containing a fusion of a phenanthrene with a pyrrol ring, was proposed by Bucherer in'1907. The problem is discussed by Pschorr and Einbeck (Ber., 1907, 40, p. 1980), and by Knorr and Horlein (ibid. p. 2042); see also Ann. Reps. Chem. Soc. Morphine, or morphia, crystallizes in prisms with one molecule of water; it is soluble in woo parts of cold water and in 160 of boiling water, and may be crystallized from alcohol; it is almost insoluble in ether and chloroform. It has an alkaline reaction and behaves as a tertiary, monacid base; its salts are soluble in water and alcohol. The official hydrochloride, C17H19N03HC1+3H20, forms delicate needles. Distilled with zinc dust morphine yields phenanthrene, pyridine and quinoline; dehydration gives, under certain conditions, apomorphine, C17H17N02, a white amorphous substance, readily soluble in alcohol, either and chloroform. The drug " heroin " is a diacetylmorphine hydrochloride. Codeine, or codeia, crystallizes in orthorhombic prisms with one molecule of water: it is readily soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform. Thebaine forms silvery plates, melting at 193°. (C. E.*) Medicine. - Of the opium alkaloids only morphine and codeine are used to any extent in medicine. Thebaine is not so used, but is an important and sometimes very dangerous constituent of the various opium preparations, which are still largely employed, despite the complexity and inconstant composition of the drug. Of the other alkaloids narceine is hypnotic, like morphine and codeine, whilst thebaine, papaverine and narcotine have an action which resembles that of strychnine, and is, generally speaking, undesirable or dangerous if at all well marked. A drug of so complex a composition as opium is necessarily incompatible with a large number of substances. Tannic acid, for instance, precipitates codeine as a tannate, salts of many of the heavy metals form precipitates of meconates and sulphates, whilst the various alkalis, alkaline carbonates and ammonia precipitate the important alkaloids.

The pharmacology of opium differs from that of morphine (q.v.) in a few particulars. The chief difference between the action of opium and morphine is due to the presence in the former of thebaine, which readily affects the more irritable spinal cord of very young children. In infants especially opium acts markedly upon the spinal cord, and, just as strychnine is dangerous when given to young children, so opium, because of the strychnine-like alkaloid it contains, should never be administered, under any circumstances or in any dose, to children under one year of age.

When given by the mouth, opium has a somewhat different action from that of morphine. It often relieves hunger, by arresting the secretion of gastric j uice and the movements of the stomach and bowel,'* and it frequently upsets digestion from the same cause. Often it relieves vomiting, though in a few persons it may cause vomiting, but in far less degree than apomorphine, which is a powerful emetic. Opium has a more marked diaphoretic action than morphine, and is much less certain as a hypnotic and analgesic. There are a few therapeutic indications for the use of opium rather than morphine, but they are far less important than those which make the opposite demand. In some abdominal conditions, for instance, opium is still preferred by the majority of practitioners, though certainly not in gastric cases, where morphine gives the relief for which opium often increases the need, owing to the irritant action of some of its constituents. Opium is often preferred to morphine in cases of diabetes, where prolonged administration is required. In such cases the soporific action is not that which is sought, and so opium is preferable. A Dover's powder, also, is hardly to be surpassed in the early stages of a bad cold in the head or bronchitis. Ten grains taken at bedtime will often give sleep, cause free diaphoresis and quieten the entire nervous system in such cases. The tincture often known as " paregoric " is also largely used in bronchial conditions, and morphine shows no sign of displacing it in favour. Opium rather than morphine is also usually employed to relieve the pain of haemorrhoids or fissure of the rectum. This practice is, however, obsolescent.

The alkaloid thebaine may here be referred to, as it is not used separately in medicine. Crum Brown and Fraser of Edinburgh showed that, whilst thebaine acts like strychnine, methyl and ethyl thebaine act like curara, paralysing the terminals of motor nerves. At present we say of such a substance as thebaine, " it acts on the anterior cornua of grey matter in the spinal cord," but why on them and not elsewhere we do not know.


Under this heading must be considered acute poisoning by opium, and the chronic poisoning seen in those who eat or smoke the drug. Chronic opium poisoning by the taking of laudanum - as in the familiar case of De Quincey - need not be considered here, as the hypodermic injection of morphine has almost entirely supplanted it.

The acute poisoning presents a series of symptoms which are only with difficulty to be distinguished from those produced by alcohol, by cerebral haemorrhage and by several other morbid conditions. The differential diagnosis is of the highest importance, but very frequently time alone will furnish a sufficient criterion. The patient who has swallowed a toxic or lethal dose of laudanum, for instance, usually passes at once into the narcotic state, without any prior excitement. Intense drowsiness yields to sleep and coma which ends in death from failure of the respiration. This last is the cardinal fact in determining treatment. The comatose patient has a cold and clammy skin, livid lips and ear-tips - a grave sign - and " pin-point pupils." The heart's action is feeble, the pulse being small, irregular and often abnormally slow. The action on the circulation is largely secondary, however, to the all-important action of opium on the respiratory centre in the medulla oblongata. The centre is directly poisoned by the circulation through it of opium-containing blood, and the patient's breathing becomes progressively slower, shallower and more irregular until finally it ceases altogether.

In treating acute opium poisoning the first proceeding is to empty the stomach. For this purpose the best emetic is apomorphine, which may be injected subcutaneously in a dose of about one-tenth of a grain. But apomorphine is not always to be obtained, and even if it be administered it may fail, since the gastric wall is often paralysed in opium poisoning, so that no emetic can act. It is therefore better to wash out the stomach, and this should be done, if possible, with a solution containing about ten grains of salt to each ounce of water. This must be repeated at intervals of about half an hour, since some of the opium is excreted into the stomach after its absorption into the blood. If apomorphine is obtainable, both of these measures may be employed. Potassium permanganate decomposes morphine by oxidation, the action being facilitated by the addition of a small quantity of mineral acid to the solution. The physiological as well as the chemical antidotes must be employed. The chief of these are coffee or caffeine and atropine. A pint of hot strong coffee may be introduced into the rectum, and caffeine in large doses - ten or twenty grains of the carbonate - may be given by the mouth. A twentieth, even a tenth of a grain of atropine sulphate should be injected subcutaneously, the drug being a direct stimulant of the respiratory centre. Every means must be taken to keep the patient awake. He must be walked about, have smelling salts constantly applied to the nose, or be stimulated by the faradic battery. But the final resort in cases of opium poisoning is artificial respiration, which should be persevered with as long as the heart continues to beat. It has, indeed, been asserted that, if relays of trained assistants are at hand, no one need die of opium poisoning, even if artificial respiration has to be continued for hours or days. (X.) Opium-eating. - Opium, like many other poisons, produces after a time a less effect if frequently administered as a medicine, so that the dose has to be constantly increased to produce the same result on those who take it habitually. When it is used to relieve pain or diarrhoea, if the dose be not taken at the usual time the symptoms of the disease recur with such violence that the remedy is speedily resorted to as the only means of relief, and thus the habit is exceedingly difficult to break off. Opiumeating is chiefly practised in Asia Minor, Persia and India. Opinions differ widely as to the injurious effect of the habit; the weight of evidence appears, however, to indicate that it is much more deleterious than opium-smoking.

The following statistics collected by Vincent Richards regarding Balasor in Orissa throw some light on the influence of this practice on the health. He estimates that i in every 12 or 14 of the population uses the drug, and that the habit is increasing. Of the 613 opium-eaters examined by him he found that the average age at which the habit was commenced was 20 to 26 years for men and 24 to 30 years for women. Of this number 143 had taken the drug for from 10 to 20 years, 62 for from 20 to 30 years and 38 for more than 30 years. The ma ority took their opium twice daily, morning and evening, the quantity taken varying from 2 to 46 grains daily, large doses being the exception, and the average 5 to 7 grains daily. The dose, when large, had been increased from the beginning; when small, there had usually been no increase at all. The causes which first led to the increase of the drug were disease, example and a belief in its aphrodisiac powers. The diseases for which it was chiefly taken were malarial fever, dysentery, diarrhoea, spitting of blood, rheumatism and elephantiasis. A number began to take it in the famine year, 1866, as it enabled them to exist on less food and mitigated their sufferings; others used it to enable them to undergo fatigue and to make long journeys. Richards concludes that the excessive use of opium by the agricultural classes, who are the chief consumers in Orissa, is very rare indeed. Its moderate use may be and is indulged in for years without producing any decided or appreciable ill effect except weakening the reproductive powers, the average number of the children of opium-eaters being 1.11 after II years of married life. It compares favourably as regards crime and insanity with intoxicating drinks, the inhabitants of Balasor being a particularly law-abiding race, and the insane forming only 0.0069% of the population. Dr W. Dymock of Bombay, speaking of western India, concurs in Richards's opinion regarding the moderate use of the drug. He believes that excessive indulgence in it is confined to a comparatively small number of the wealthier classes of the community. Dr Moore's experience of Rajputana strongly supports the same views. It seems probable that violent physical exercise may counteract in great measure the deleterious effect of opium and prevent it from retarding the respiration, and that in such cases the beneficial effects are obtained without the noxious results which would accrue from its use to those engaged in sedentary pursuits. There is no doubt that the spread of the practice is connected with the ban imposed in Mohammedan countries on the use of alcoholic beverages, and to some extent with the long religious fasts of the Buddhists, Hindus and Moslems, in which opium is used to allay hunger.

To break off the habit of opium-eating is exceedingly difficult, and can be effected only by actual external restraint, or the strongest effort of a powerful will, especially if the dose has been gradually increased.


This is chiefly practised by the inhabitants of China and the islands of the Indian Archipelago, and in countries where Chinese are largely employed. Opium-smoking began in China in the 17th century. Foreign opium was first imported by the Portuguese (early 18th century). In 1906 it was estimated of Chinese smoked opium, or 27% of adult males; but during1908-1910the consumption of opium is believed to have diminished by about one-third.

For smoking the Chinese use an extract of opium known as prepared opium or chandoo, and a cheaper preparation is made from 60% used opium known as " opium dross " and 40% native opium. This latter is chiefly used by the poorer classes.

The process of preparation is thus described by Hugh M'Callum, government analyst at Hong-Kong: " The opium is removed from its covering of leaves, &c., moistened with a little water, and allowed to stand for about fourteen hours; it is then divided into pans, 22 balls of opium and about to pints of water going to each pan; it is now boiled and stirred occasionally until a uniform mixture having the consistence of a thin paste is obtained. This operation takes from five to six hours. The paste is at once transferred to a larger pan and cold water added to about 3 gallons, covered and allowed to stand for from fourteen to fifteen hours. A bunch of ' tang sani ' (lamp-wick, the pith of Eriocaulon or Scirpus) is then inserted well into the mass, and the pan slightly canted, when a rich, clear, brown fluid is thus drawn off, and filtered through ' chi mui ' (paper made from bamboo fibre). The residue is removed to a calico filter and thoroughly washed with boiling water, the wash water being reboiled and used time after time. The last washing is done with pure water; these washings are used in the next day's boiling.

" The residues on the calico filters are transferred to a large one of the same material and well pressed. This insoluble residue, called ` nai chai ' (opium dirt), is the perquisite of the head boiling coolie, who finds a ready market for it in Canton, where it is used for adulterating, or rather in manufacturing, the moist inferior kinds of prepared opium. The filtrate or opium solution is concentrated by evaporation at the boiling point, with occasional stirring until of a proper consistence, the time required being from three to four hours; it is then removed from the fire and stirred with great vigour till cold, the cooling being accelerated by coolies with large fans. When quite cold it is taken to the hong and kept there for some months before it is considered in prime condition for smoking. As thus prepared it has the consistence of a thin treacly extract, and is called boiled or prepared opium. In this state it is largely exported from China to America, Australia, &c., being carefully sealed up in small pots having the name of the maker (i.e. hong) on each.

" The Chinese recognize the following grades of opium: (I) ' raw opium,' as imported from India; (2) ' prepared opium,' opium made as above; (3) ' opium dross,' the scrapings from the opium pipe; this is reboiled and manufactured as a second-class prepared opium; a Chinese doctor stated lately at a coroner's inquest on a case of poisoning that it was more poisonous than the ordinary prepared opium; (4) ' nai chai ' (opium dirt), the insoluble residue left on exhausting the raw opium thoroughly with water. The opium is sent every day from the hong (i.e. shop or firm) to the boiling-house, the previous day's boiling being then returned to the hong. The average quantity boiled each day is from six to eight chests of Patna opium, this being the only kind used." By this process of preparation a considerable portion of the narcotine, caoutchouc, resin, oil or fatty and insoluble matters are removed, and the prolonged boiling, evaporating and baking over a naked fire tend to lessen the amount of alkaloids present in the extract. The only alkaloids likely to remain in the prepared opium, and capable of producing well-marked physiological results, are morphine, codeine and narceine. Morphine, in the pure state, can be sublimed, but codeine and narceine are said not to give a sublimate. Even if sublimed in smoking opium, morphine would, in M'Callum's opinion, probably be deposited in the pipe before it reached the mouth of the smoker. The bitter taste of morphine is not noticeable when smoking opium, and it is therefore possible that the pleasure derived from smoking the drug is due to some product formed during combustion. This supposition is rendered probable by the fact that the opiums most prized by smokers are not those containing most morphine, and that the quality is judged by the amount of soluble matter in the opium, by its tenacity or " touch," and by peculiarities of aroma - the Indian opium, especially the Patna kind, bearing much the same relation to the Chinese and Persian drug that champagne does to y in ordinaire. Opiumsmoking is thus described by Theo. Sampson of Canton: " The smoker, lying on his side, with his face towards the tray and his head resting on a high hard pillow (sometimes made of earthenware, but more frequently of bamboo covered with leather), takes the pipe in his hand; with the other hand he takes a dipper and puts the sharp end of it into the opium, which is of a treacly consistency. Twisting it round and round he gets a large drop of the fluid to adhere to the dipper; still twisting it round to prevent it falling he brings the drop over the flame of the lamp, and twirling it round and round he roasts it; all this is done with acquired dexterity. The opium must not be burnt or made too dry, but roasted gently till it looks like burnt worsted; every now and then he takes it away from the flame and rolls it (still on the end of the dipper) on the flat surface of the bowl. When it is roasted and rolled to his satisfaction he gently heats the centre of the bowl, where there is a small orifice; then he quickly thrusts the end of the dipper into the orifice, twirls it round smartly and withdraws it; if this is properly done, the opium (now about the size of a grain of hemp-seed or a little larger) is left adhering to the bowl immediately over the orifice. It is now ready for smoking.

" The smoker assumes a comfortable attitude (lying down of course) at a proper distance from the lamp. He now puts the stem to his lips, and holds the bowl over the lamp. The heat causes the opium to frizzle, and the smoker takes three or four long inhalations, all the time using the dipper to bring every particle of the opium to the orifice as it burns away, but not taking his lips from the end of the stem, or the opium pellet from the lamp till all is finished. Then he uses the flattened end of the dipper to scrape away any little residue there may be left around the orifice, and proceeds to prepare another pipe. The preparations occupy from five to ten minutes, and the actual smoking about thirty seconds. The smoke is swallowed, and is exhaled through both the mouth and the nose." u f 4 FIG. 3. - Opium-smoking Apparatus. a, pipe; b, dipper; c, lamp.

So far as can be gathered from the conflicting statements published on the subject, opium-smoking may be regarded much in the same light as the use of alcoholic stimulants. To the great majority of smokers who use it moderately it appears to act as a stimulant, and to enable them to undergo great fatigue and to go for a considerable time with little or no food. According to the reports on the subject, when the smoker has plenty of active work it appears to be no more injurious than smoking tobacco. When carried to excess it becomes an inveterate habit; but this happens chiefly in individuals of weak will-power, who would just as easily become the victims of intoxicating drinks, and who are practically moral imbeciles, often addicted also to other forms of depravity. The effect in bad cases is to cause loss of appetite, a leaden pallor of the skin, and a degree of leanness so excessive as to make its victims appear like living skeletons. All inclination for exertion becomes gradually lost, business is neglected, and certain ruin to the smoker follows. There can be no doubt that the use of the drug is opposed by all thinking Chinese who are not pecuniarily interested in the opium trade or cultivation, for several reasons, among which may be mentioned the drain of bullion from the country, the decrease of population, the liability to famine through the cultivation of opium where cereals should be grown, and the corruption of state officials.

See Pharmaceutical Journ. [1] xi. p. 269, xiv. p. 395; [ 2 ] x. p. 434; Impey, Report on Malwa Opium (Bombay, 1848); Report on Trade of Hankow (1869); New Remedies (1876), p. 229; Pharmacographia (1879), p. 42; Journal of the Society of Arts (1882); The Friend of China (1883), &c. Report of the Straits Settlements, Federated Malay States Opium Commission (1908), App. xxiii. and xxiv.; Allen, Commercial Organic Analysis, vol. iii. pt. iv. p. 355; Frank Browne, Report on Opium (Hong-Kong, 1908); G. Watt, Dictionary of the Economic Products of India (1892); H. Moissan, Comptes rendus, of the 5th of December 1892, iv. p. 33; Lalande, Archives de medicine navale, t. 1. (1890); International Opium Commission (1909), vol. ii. " Report of the Delegations "; Squire, Companion to the British Pharmacopeia (1908) (18th edition). (E. M. H.)

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