Opium - not vogue?

I was watching Requim For a Dream, and got to thinking about the drugs that are in use nowadays. I know about all of the more famous ones (a pretty long list), including opium. But you never hear much about it.

Maybe I’ve just tuned out the news too well, but I don’t hear anything about big opium busts or the plight of opium addicts.

Has it gone out of fasion to use the Poppy?

Still plenty of opium use in Pakistan, Afghanistan, & other areas where the opium poppy grows.

It’s just not practical to export it-- too bulky/risky.

Poppy use is down, but oxycontin and heroin and vicodin use are waaaay up. All 3 of the latter-mentioned deliver more punch to the opiate receptors in the brain than the lowly poppy, from which heroin is derived.

indeed, pharmaceuticals are easier for people to come by, less suspicious, and safer (relatively speaking in that you know where it came from and how strong it is) than opium.

Now, I disagree that vicodin (hydrocodone) delivers more “punch” than opium. Opium is primarily morphine and codeine (and a bunch of other alkaloids) and morphine is much stronger than hydrocodone; of course it always depends how much you take. I’ve never smoked, nor even seen opium, but I know people who have smoked it and they all said it was much stronger than hydrocodone. Of course, taking 50 vicodins is going to feel stronger than taking a puff or two of opium (before the acetaminophen kills ya), but I digress.

One other thing to note is that heroin is much more profitable and equally as illegal as raw opium.

I’m not convinced morphine is stronger than hydrocodone. Cite?

As a drug user, I can tell you that opium does come around from time to time, but it’s relatively rare. I have been able to try it several times, though. The most common variety that I’ve seen has a dark red color to it. From what I’ve read, this color indicates that it is synthetic opium. I’ve also read that people who have tried both prefer the synthetic stuff. I don’t know for sure whether any of the opium I tried was natural or synthetic, so I can’t say.

Is it stronger than pills? In my mind, they’re not even comparable. Opium feels relaxing, like pot, except heavier. Pills (from Vicodin all the way up to the infamous Oxycontin) give me euphoria and stomach pain.

I was mistaken to claim that hydrocodone is stronger than morphine by any means. I definitely mis-spoke when I said it packed more punch at the opiate receptor than opium. Yes, opium contains morphine & codeine, and morphine binds more tightly to opiate receptors than hydrocodone, and about as tightly as oxycodone. But not nearly so strongly as heroin.

But opium also contains noscapine, papaverine, and thebaine, along with a lot of inert materials. I’ve known a lot of opiate addicts who felt that vicoden tabs were not only easier to obtain, but had more bang for the buck, as it were in terms of cost and availability. Certainly enough opium can induce a stronger euphoria than a bucket of hydrocodone, but a number of addicts were also put off by the side effects of the papaverine. Of course, take 50 vicodin tabs, and your liver may shut down from the tylenol in it too.

neutron, the reddish street opium (aka red rock opium) is a fake - the real thing looks and feels nothing like this. It isn’t even “synthetic” opium or some homemade substitute; it is entirely a useless sham.

Qadgop, hydrocodone IS stronger than straight up morphine when taken orally. Morphine is rarely given as pills for extreme pain, its strength lies in its intravenously administered capabilities. And morphine is not a weaker opiate agonist than heroin - simply because heroin is converted to morphine once consumed. Even codeine gets you “high” by transforming into morphine in your system. Not very efficiently, mind you, and thats why its such a useless drug for pain.

For a non-tolerant person, I would say oxycodone has the best recreational value of all the opiates. Exponentially stronger than opium, smoother than morphine, and more euphoric than (non-injected) heroin.

What’re the dangers of opium? In general and relative to other similar drugs.

y’all are some heads for real. respect.

The same as all the drugs in the narcotics class - primary danger is physical addiction. Addiction in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad, but addiction to an illegal chemical will definitely have legal and social impacts. Respiratory failure can occur if you overdose, although most OD deaths are from people choking on their vomit while unconscious. But because of the low concentration of morphine levels in crude opium, the threat is lessened. I have also heard that codeine (a component of opium) is toxic to the liver, but I’m not sure about that.

From a physiological standpoint, opiate narcotics are far safer than alcohol or stimulants like methamphetamine.

neutron star, please read the Guidelines for posting thread in ATMB.

For the rest of you, let’s stick to the facts, and also not advocate drug use or give tips on what the best ones to abuse are.

moderator GQ

Gah. You’re right! I don’t know how I missed that. A search for “red rock opium” yields plenty of “this stuff is fake” hits. I’d never heard it referred to by that name, so I hadn’t searched. Man, I feel like such a jackass. Also, since opium isn’t one chemical, but several, a synthetic variant probably doesn’t exist. D’oh! Double jackass. Luckily, most of the times I smoked it were with friends and I didn’t pay for it.

biliophage, I thought I understood the rules and am not trying to argue, but I would like clarification as to exactly what part of my post is offensive. The use I referred to was in the past. (And apparently I was just smoking opium-scented incense anyway :() Or was it my opening sentence that began “As a drug user” that broke the rules? Please clarify so I know what to avoid in the future.

Oops, sorry for bungling your name, bibliophage.

pantone, we can split hairs about GI absorption, liver metabolism of opiates, the blood-brain barrier’s effect on opiate efficacy, and relative strengths of affinity at the opiate receptor site. It all depends on how we define the terms. But oral morphine, given in sufficient strength, still has greater pain-killing efficacy than hydrocodone. And there are some addicts out there who do select dextromethorphan over morphine to give them their favorite euphoria. Go figure.

One trouble with studying the approach to relative opiate strengths is that while we can measure the affinity for an opiate-type molecule for an opiate receptor, it is still difficult to quantify just how strongly said binding activates the the receptor site. Some molecules, like naloxone which bind so strongly to the receptor site that it actually ‘kicks out’ morphine from the site, do not activate the receptor at all, but produce an instant withdrawal syndrome instead by blocking it. The degree of the molecule’s agonist vs. antagonist effect cannot be predicted by binding affinity.

And codiene is not particularly toxic to the liver. The problem with scarfing lots of codiene (or oxycodone or hydrocodone) is that it’s usually compounded with acetaminophen (tylenol or APAP) which is incredibly toxic to the liver in higher-than-therapeutic doses.

As for opiates being ‘safer’ than amphetamines or alcohol, yeah, one could argue that. But respiratory arrest is a real concern, along with pulmonary edema from injecting contaminated opiates, which can result in quick demise. Microembolisms and sepsis from vasculitis are also a problem in this population. I saw one guy lose his arm from injecting into his brachial artery because he couldn’t find any veins anymore. So I’ve seen waaay too many people sicken and die from opiate abuse, oral or IV.

The best thing about opiate abuse is that the detox won’t kill you, like it can for barbiturates or alcohol, and far less often, stimulants.

I didn’t intend it as an official warning, simply a reminder. (The difference is that I didn’t add your name to the Big Long Shitlist[sup]®[/sup]). I apologize if I failed to make that clear.

The rule against discussing current illegal drug use has several purposes. For one thing, it protects us against having this board turn into a drug forum (and having “dope” in the name doesn’t help any). The rule also protects you. As TubaDiva is wont to say, “Don’t post anything here that you wouldn’t want on a billboard outside your house.” You may think your anonymity is secure on a faceless message board, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Anything you say here could come back to haunt you.

If your experience with drugs is well in the past, or if your experience is legal (i.e., prescribed pharmaceuticals), then you’re not breaking the rule. But it’s best to make that clear so we know that’s the case.

moderator GQ

I’ve seen opium on about 3 occasions in the past, and it was black or translucent orange (like amber).

For some odd reason, I always imagined it being white.

In another lifetime, my evil twin came across opium hash. It was black and gummy and very delightful…(sigh) for my glory days