How did the use of opiates begin?
The history of opiates goes back a long way, about 4000 to 6000 years. Even then, people wrote about the poppy plant. Egyptians and many other peoples of the early Middle East used it. In the 7th century, opium arrived in China via Arab traders, where it was initially used to cure diarrhea. Later, under the influence of the Dutch settlers, opium became a remedy for malaria and it was used as a drug. China became obsessed with opium. The result was that many users became addicted and the then rulers announced a ban. This ban gave rise to two opium wars in which the English ensured that the opium from their colony of India could be sold in China. They wanted to keep selling this because they made a lot of money with it.