"vintage meds": A netnographic study of user decision-making, home preparation, and consumptive patterns of laudanum

Marie Claire Van Hout, Evelyn Hearne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Reviews have commented on rising clandestine manufacture of opiate drug solutions for injecting, and to a lesser extent for oral use. Very little is known about user attempts to culture poppy seeds, widely available on the internet for manufacture of long acting medium-high potency oral solutions, both as poppy seed tea or as opium tincture (laudanum). Objectives: A netnographic research methodology aimed to provide online consumer insight into user sourcing and decision influences, experiences of home manufacture of laudanum, utilization of opium tincture recipes, and consumptive patterns. Methods: A systematic internet search was conducted using the terms: "Laudanum," "Opium tincture," and "Tincture of Opium" in combination with "forum." Following screening of 810 forum threads with exclusion criteria and removal of duplicates, 75 fora threads on 6 online drug fora were analyzed using the empirical phenomenological psychological method. Four themes were generated. Results: Findings illustrated the underpinning of user reminiscing about Victorian use of standardized laudanum, long duration shelf life, and medicinal use for opiate withdrawals with intentions to prepare. Preparation of famous recipes and use of authentic storage bottles boosted nostalgia. Participants appeared well versed in kitchen chemistry processes. Discussions centered on type and amount of alcohol used, use of additives to promote palatability and intoxication effect, homogenization of poppy seeds, and double extraction using opium tincture. Lack of detail available on intoxication experiences, with tentative dosage advised. Conclusions: Development of targeted and credible "counterpublic" harm reduction initiatives situated within online consumerism of communal drug knowledge is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-608
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet
  • Laudanum
  • Netnography
  • Opium tincture
  • Oral opiate solution


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