The use of opium and opiates in images and texts

In the footsteps of the Poppy

The use of opium and opiates in images and texts

Zoom out
Traces left by users and artists in historical sources.

Opium and opiates have a history of all kinds of extremes in status, from harmless stimulant, drug of the gods and panacea to addictive poison and threat to health and society. Opium has been a regular part of the medicine cabinet since the seventeenth century and opium use was generally accepted for all kinds of purposes and diseases until the nineteenth century. The romantic imagination of lying in Morpheus' arms (sleeping well and dreaming with opium, laudanum and morphine) goes hand in hand with cautionary tales and images of a godless poison. In this section you will learn more about the paradoxical social and cultural impact of the consumption of opium, opiates and opioids from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century.

Discover the stories in this photo

The 17th century
The 18th century
The 19th century
First half of the 20th century
Second half of the 20th century
The 21st century