The article aims to explore and discuss opium in Deli, 1870-1942. The problem is focused on opium trade and consumption in plantations. The study uses a social-history approach. Primary data sources are daily notes, job handover memories, colonial reports, correspondence and newspapers during the colonial period, while secondary data are books, journals or official websites that discuss opium in various countries. Data obtained from the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta and online. Contextual analysis is used to explain the trade and consumption of opium in the context of colonialism. Contextuality cannot be separated from time, continuity and change. The study found that opium was a trade commodity that was carried out systematically in plantation communities. Novelty studies that the opium trade is a structured mechanism for impoverishing and controlling coolies on plantations. The study concluded that the poverty trap was the main tool to keep coolies on plantations.