Heroin, morphine, and other opiates trace their origins to a single plant—the opium poppy. Cultivation of the plant dates back to the earliest years of human civilization, and opium use was well known in ancient Mesopotamia. The narcotic drug has been used both recreationally and as a medicine for centuries. Opium derivatives, including morphine, became widely used pain relievers, particularly in the 1800s. Heroin, too, was first synthesized for medical use before physicians realized its potent addictive properties.