"Kim meditated poisoning him with opium borrowed from a barrack sweeper"

Opium was widely available in India from the eighteenth century, when British traders began promoting poppy cultivation there in order to trade the drug in China.

Having won both the First Opium War (1839 to 1842) and the Second Opium War (1856 to 1860), compelling China to open its markets to opium, Britain benefited from the highly lucrative trade throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.