3400 B.C. — First historical reference to the opium poppy being cultivated in lower Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). The Sumerians refer to it as Hul Gil (joy plant). The Sumerians passed along the means of cultivating the plant and its euphoric effects to the Assyrians who, in turn, passed in on to the Babylonians, who then passed it onto the Egyptians.
1300 B.C. — The Egyptian city of Thebes becomes the drug capital of the ancient world. Customers included both the Phoenicians and the Minoans, who became middle-level dealers as the drug spread across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece, Carthage and eventually Rome.