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Opium poppy heads

Opium poppy heads

B640/0209

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Credit

JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY MASON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Opium poppy seed-heads. Seed-heads of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). One (centre) has been sectioned to reveal its seeds. This poppy is the source of opium, a narcotic resin which contains the drugs heroin, morphine and codeine. These are used as painkillers (analgesics) in modern medicine. Opium can be refined to yield pure heroin, which is an illegal drug of abuse. It induces feelings of warmth and euphoria. Frequent use leads to tolerance building and addiction.

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