NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
On the left in this image is a nushtur, an instrument used in India for making incisions in opium poppy pods; in the center is a pod showing the vertical cuts made by harvesters in India; and on the right is a pod with a horizontal cut that would have been made in Turkey. Opium is a narcotic drug obtained from the seeds of the opium poppy. It contains the chemicals morphine and codeine, as well as other alkaloids. The opium resin from the poppy is processed, and then burned in pipes. The smoker inhales the vapors from the burning resin. Opium is an addictive drug. In the 19th century and the early 20th century, opium smoking was common worldwide, especially in Asia, which was one of the sources of the opium poppy. There were many opium dens where such smoking took place.
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