Would I really get drowsy from walking through a field of opium poppies?

The title says it all.

In The Wizard Of Oz, the heroes at one point have to cross a poppy field, and they barely manage to make it through without falling asleep. And in LOTR, Sam and Frodo have to cross the Morgul Vale, which contains similar sleep inducing flowers, which were not necessarily supposed to be opium poppies, but but seem similar.

Since we have the same basic plot element in two widely different fantasy novels, is there any basis in reality here? If I walked though a poppy field in Turkey (from where, IIRC, the U.S. imports all its legal opium deriviatives), would I need to take along an extra Thermos of coffee, to fight the waves of dopey somnolence?

My Dad used to tell me that as a kid he would eat spoonfuls of poppy seeds as a treat, and if he ate too much he’d get sleepy. Since it takes eating a bunch of them to get sleepy, I doubt simply walking among them would do anything.

I doubt that you would. Morphine and the other opium alkaloids are quite large molecules, and as such would not be very volatile (i.e. morphine would not ‘fly off’ the opium poppy into the air). The MSDS for morphine does not give any special requirements for respirators or ventilation, and does not say that the vapors are harmful. Inhaling morphine dust, of course, would be dangerous. Also, opium poppies probably produce morphine only at a certain point in their life-cycle.

If you did become drowsy from walking through a field of poppies, it would probably be by association of the smell with the effect of opium (you would need to be aware of this effect, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to have taken morphine).

Since it’s the latex sorrounding the seeds[that is ultimately made into useful and non-useful formulations] you can walk through fields of them from now 'til kingdom come and not be affected, drowsy-wise. If the somnolent effect of poppies was produced by their scent, you might have a case. The arms of Morpheus would enfold you everytime the wind blew. Poppies are scentless, at any rate, so you’re safe. Admire their beauty, that’s all you’ll get if you tiptoe through them.

How do the poppy pickers manage to pick the poppies if just walking through the fields would make one drowsy? They’re presumably out there all day long.

And to look at the coverage of Afganistan these days, the fields are full of camera crews with reporters talking about the increase in opium production. It would be nice if they were too drowsy to all give the same report, but we aren’t that lucky.