The first undisputed reference to opium is found in the writings of Theophrastus in the third century B.C. Arab physicians were well versed in the uses of opium; Arab traders introduced the drug to the Orient, where it was employed mainly for the control of dysenteries. During the Middle Ages, many of the uses of opium were appreciated. In 1680, Sydenham wrote: "Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium." Opium contains more than 20 distinct alkaloids. In 1806, Sertrner reported the isolation of a pure substance in opium that he named morphine, after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the use of pure alkaloids in place of crude opium preparations began to spread throughout the medical world. In addition to the remarkable beneficial effects of opioids, the toxic side effects and addictive potential of these drugs also have been known for centuries. These problems stimulated a search for potent synthetic opioid analgesics free of addictive potential and other side effects. ...
Since the earliest times, people have used opium, which is the parent drug of a group of chemicals called narcotics. Narcotics can be used for good or bad purposes. When used in appropriate indications, narcotics are important medications in the treatment of pain. They are the standard against which the effectiveness of other pain treatments is measured. People who suffer from long-term or excruciating pain must be treated with medically prescribed narcotics. Narcotics are a group of drugs with chemical structures similar to that of opium, a medicine derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Some are isolated directly from the opium poppy, but others can be made in the laboratory. Narcotics derived from the natural plant source are called opiates, and they include opium and its active ingredients, morphine and codeine. Any drug that is made in the laboratory is described as synthetic, or man-made. Synthetic narcotics are collectively known as opioids and they include heroin, hydrocodone, and fentanyl (Booth, 1996).
These drugs relieve pain and produce great satisfaction in pain relief. Along with relief of pain, these also induce a change in the mood and behaviour, enhancing the sense of wellbeing or relief. All pain is associated with some anxiety, and they work in this area very satisfactorily. It is questionable whether these have any analgesic effect at all, but it is certain that it eases the pain to the limit of tolerability leading to an alteration of pain perception. Opiates have several other effects on the body. These constrict the pupils of the eye, slow respiratory rate, and dilate the veins of the skin, making the body look flushed and feel warm. They slow down the digestive system, including the activity of the intestines, and have been used for