laudanum lôdˈənəm [key], tincture, or alcoholic solution, of opium, first compounded by Paracelsus in the 16th cent. Not then known to be addictive, the preparation was widely used up through the 19th cent. to treat a variety of disorders. Many literary and artistic figures, including Coleridge, Poe, Moussorgsky, and De Quincey, are known to have been addicted.

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