300 BCE - 200 CE
Opium is traded along the Silk Roads

The term "Silk Road" was coined in the 18th century. It describes a series of interconnected routes that ran from Europe to China, crossing many countries in between. These routes developed between different empires on the Mediterranean coast (Persia and Syria) and in the East (the Indian Kingdoms). At the end of the Middle Ages, the routes went even further, stretching from Italy to West China, and to Scandinavia in the North. Many products were traded along these routes, including opium. 

As the power of opium became known, demand for it increased, leading to its cultivation in many countries. Cultivation spread along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean through Asia and finally to China where it was the catalyst for the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s.

Source: Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature's Addicitve Plants (n.d.). DEA Museum.

Drugs: Opium (morphine, heroin, opioids)
Regions: China, India, Greece, Iraq, Turkey
Topics: Cultivation, production and trade

The Silk Road: Connecting the ancient world through trade