Timeline: As the opioid epidemic rages, how did we get here?

The opioid epidemic plaguing the Miami Valley, state and nation has many roots — the first from a flower. 

Utilized thousands of years ago, the resin extracted from opium poppies was a strong pain reliever. But opium also changed the brain and created dependency, even more when it was turned into morphine and heroin. 

Chemists in the last century also learned to create the drug on their own. During the 1990s, treating pain became a priority for medical providers, and drug makers produced and marketed a number of prescription opioids. 

» RELATED: From morphine to heroin to fentanyl: How opioids have become more potent - and more dangerous 

In the past few years, the problem exploded. Scroll through the timeline below to learn key dates and find out how even stronger drugs like fentanyl worsened the crisis and what Ohio and Dayton are doing to fight the opioid epidemic.

» RELATED: 2016 deadliest year for overdoses, fentanyl deaths more than double 

» RELATED: No slowing of opioid epidemic: 5 alarming signs even more will die from overdoses this year 

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