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Opium poppies

Opium poppies

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Credit

ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) being grown commercially. These poppies produce a thick latex that contains the drugs morphine and codeine, amongst others. From these, heroin can be produced. All of these drugs are used as painkillers and narcotics. The opium poppy is grown illegally in many parts of the world to supply illegal users of heroin. To grow it legally, one requires a licence. Commercial crops are grown so that the alkaloid drugs produced can be extracted for use in science and medicine. Photographed in Forth, Tasmania, Australia.

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