Question of the Day – Tuesday February 12, 2019

Question – The abuse of opium is widespread in some countries including Iran and Afghanistan. Opium samples from these regions are often adulterated. What substances have been reported as adulterants for opium in these countries?

Answer-The cited article notes “Adulteration of opium samples by soil, minced liver, flour, burned oil, tea, cacao, Indian henna, decoction of jute leaves, artificial leather, dried animal blood, melted X-ray films and pharmaceutical opioids, particularly tramadol, has been reported to make the opium heavier and gain more profit from sale.” In addition, lead has been reported as a prominent adulterant of opium. (Ghane T et al. Lead poisoning outbreak among opium users in the Islamic Republic if Iran, 2016-2017. Bulletin of the World Health Organization (Bull World Health Organ), Mar2018; 96(3): 165-172.)