The use of opium (Figure 7.1) can be traced back at least to 4500 bc, when early Egyptian images and Sumerian texts depict its use both medicinally and for religious or ritualistic purposes. Its use as a potent analgesic is described in several early medical texts, including the original Egyptian text, the Papyrus, written in approximately 1600 BC. The use of unprocessed opium as an analgesic continued throughout the world through much of the nineteenth century.