How did opium come to Europe?

In Europe, opium was not introduced as a medicinal drink until 1525. The drink was called ‘laudanum’ and was made from alcohol and opium. It was used by both adults and children as a sleep and pain reliever. The drink was quite popular. There was almost no disease in which opium was not seen as some sort of panacea. During the 19th century, opium was freely available in drugstores in both the US and England.

The use of opium as a drug in Europe dates back to the end of the eighteenth century. It was used by all walks of life, but at that time it didn’t cause too many problems: it was cheap and not yet illegal. There was hardly any knowledge about the negative effects and the risks.