Opiates are termed narcotics from the greek work narke meaning; sleep, stupor or numbness. Principal form of opiates for centuries was opium. Most important are: morphine, codeine and thebaine. Thebaine itself is not active, but is the source of opiate derivative oxycodone found in percodan, percocet and oxycotin. 11th and 12th centuries: in 1520 a physician named paracelsus introduced laudanum- medical drink containing opium, spices, wine etc. and the consumption of this beverage continued well into the beginning of the 20th century. Opium wars around 1840: demand for tea in britain increased, wanted to keep increasing amounts of tea being shipped from china but did not want to pay in currency. Indian company wanted to pay the chinese tea merchants with opium from. The chinese government was opposed to this and made laws to ban importation of opium, but these were easily circumvented (found a way around).