What a great medicine to relieve pain and emotional stress. With no side effects known at that time, opium was perceived as almost miraculous and became very popular for relieving the suffering of patients with a wide variety of diseases, such as insomnia, headaches, and epilepsy (among many others). Overworked parents also used opium as a pacifying remedy for their harassed infants. Morphine was later extracted from opium and named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.

The perception of opium changed to the opposite extreme after recognition of its addictive nature. In his remarks about the suffering of the world from opium destruction, Dr John Witherspoon, president of the American Medical Association early in the 20th century, urged the medical community to “save our people from the clutches of this hydra-headed monster which stalks abroad throughout the civilized world, wrecking lives and happy homes, filling our jails and...

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