How are opiates made?


Opiates are produced from the poppy plant. These plants grow in Central Asia and Southeast Asia (eg Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma and Thailand), but also in South America. Opium is obtained by making an incision in the seed bulb of the poppy plant. The seed bulb excretes a milky substance. When this dries up, a dark brown substance is formed, the raw opium. This raw substance can be smoked. Morphine can be made from the raw opium, and codeine can be made from morphine. Compared to morphine, codeine is a weak analgesic and a powerful anti-cough suppressant. By chemically processing the morphine, the heroin can eventually be created.


Substances that have a similar effect in the brain as opiates, but do not occur in the original poppy bulb, are called opioids.