|Binomial name||Papaver somniferum|
The Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum "the sleep-bringing poppy") is used in the manufacture of opiates such as morphine, codeine,and heroin, while its seeds are used as a food item, often sprinkled on baked goods. It is also grown in some European countries as a purely ornamental plant. Possession of any part of non-low morphine Papaver somniferum other than the seed is illegal in the United States and the plant is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
In the United Kingdom, the Home Office has granted pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith a licence to harvest the poppies and extract the opiate compounds, and they are now grown as a cash crop by English farmers in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire to combat a critical shortage of morphine in National Health Service hospitals. Worldwide, there is an acute shortage of opium poppy-based medicines, which are on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicinal drugs. Illegal opium growth in Afghanistan has been used to fund terrorism and supply 90% of the worlds heroin. Some groups are calling for the legalization of opium in Afghanistan to curb the worlds morphine shortage.
History of Cultivation
- Drug Scheduling #9650 DEA Accessed July 16, 2007
- Phillips, Rhodri and Wigmore, Barry The painkilling fields Mail on Sunday July 15, 2007; accessed July 16, 2007
- DeYoung, Karen Afghanistan Opium Crop Sets Record Washington Post Accessed July 17, 2007
- Report Gives Green Light For Licensed Opium In Afghanistan To Provide Essential Medicines Senlis Council Accessed July 17, 2007