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Opium poppy harvest

Opium poppy harvest

E770/1315

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Credit

PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Opium poppy harvest. Worker using an extruder to turn harvested opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) into pellets. The collected poppies are compressed and then forced through holes in the extruder (left). This process prevents the poppies from fermenting and makes them easier to transport. The opium poppy is the source of opium, a narcotic resin that contains the alkaloids morphine and codeine. These are used by the pharmaceutical industry as painkillers (analgesics). Opium can be refined to yield pure heroin, an illegal drug that induces feelings of warmth and euphoria. Frequent use leads to an increase in tolerance and addiction. Photographed in France.

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