A short history of narcotics…Part 1

ναρκῶ narkō. I benumb. I certainly get it. The Greeks got it. A Greek physician coined the word narcotic way back in the day. The need to numb ourselves is as old as the Sumerian civilization which cultivated opium poppies in the year 3400 BC. Homer and Hippocrates both mention the majestic poppy in their work. It shows up in the Iliad and is mentioned in the work of Aristotle.The Greeks unquestionably had a penchant for the poppy plant, and used it in various ways, such as carving intricate pinheads, to using it as a motif on artwork and vases. Throughout history, the  poppy has remained an object of fascination beginning with the oldest civilizations.

Perhaps the need to become numb dates back even earlier. It has been said that alcohol was  accidentally discovered  sometime around 10,000 BC. The Neolithic folks wandering around El Obeid and Hvar weren’t just learning how to make chisels and bracelets, they were getting drunk. Anyhoo, I am writing about the good stuff here…opium…heroin. Dionysus, the Great Earth Mother Goddess, and alcohol will have to wait…

My interest in regards to the history of narcotics has no boundaries. I have studied addiction for the past two years in school, and spent many years prior  learning about ancient civilizations, and their use of drugs. I am fascinated by the idea that someone, or perhaps a few people in lower Mesopotamia came across a crop of exquisite poppy plants, and became intrigued by the lovely flowering green urchins. How long had the plants been wavering in the warm dry wind?

to be continued…..


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