c. 1500 BCE
Opium is used in cult rituals in the Mediterranean region

Archaeological findings reveal the widespread use of opium for cult rituals or healing purposes in the eastern Mediterranean and Crete at least as early as the 15th century BCE.

"Poppy capsules ornamenting figurines, bas-reliefs, vases, pins and jewelry imply the multiple symbolic meanings of opium, like healing, but also fertility, wealth and immortality."

An example of the Minoan knowledge of the healing properties of opium is embodied in a figurine depicting the Minoan goddess of poppies (dated about 1300 BCE) wearing poppy capsules on her head.

Source: Askitopoulou, H. (2002). Archaeological evidence on the use of opium. International Congress Series.

Drugs: Opium (morphine, heroin, opioids)
Regions: Africa, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Turkey
Topics: Cultural factors (social, religious, ritual), Medicinal use of drugs