Skip to Main Content

The cover image is the Papaver somniferum and is the source of opium. The plant is native to Southwestern Asia, but now grown around the globe. Its products have been used medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years. The beautiful flowers lose their petals with a resultant green capsule, which when lanced exudes the highly viscous opium. Opium contains numerous alkaloids of which morphine, codeine, papaverine, and thebaine are the most medically consequential. Morphine is an opioid agonist analgesic, which when diacetylated produces heroin. Naloxone, a pure opioid antagonist and derivative of thebaine, reverses most of the clinical effects of opioid agonists. Opioids in almost all forms are used with remarkable success for acute pain and conversely, misused and abused with tragic implications for patients, families, and society. The safe and appropriate use of the products and derivatives of Papaver somniferum will define much of the work of toxicologists in the twenty-first century.

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.