Dried opium poppies

Dried opium poppies

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Credit: ALAN SIRULNIKOFF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dried opium poppies (Papaver somniferum). These drying seed capsules are the structures from which opium is collected. The crude opium is a milky latex, which hardens into a gummy substance on exposure to air. Crude opium contains numerous alkaloids, including the painkillers morphine and codeine. It is the raw material for making heroin.

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