a discussion of the article plus other links found at the political site FR's GGG Forum.
“Since the initial work of Balabanova et. al., other studies have revealed the same drugs (cocaine, nicotine, and hashish) in Egyptian mummies, confirming the original results. Nerlich et. al. (1995), in a study evaluating the tissue pathology of an Egyptian mummy dating from approximately 950 B.C., found the compounds in several of the mummy's organs. They found the highest amounts of nicotine and cocaine in the mummy's stomach, and the hashish traces primarily in the lungs. These findings were again identified using both radio immunoassay and GSMS techniques. Very similar results were again found in yet another study by Parsche and Nerlich (1995). Again, the findings were obtained using the immunological and chromatographic techniques. “
the problem is not that mummies of people who were sick might show drugs that modern people use to get high but are also pain relief
this video was on TV a couple years back.
the Blue Lotus, shown in a lot of Egyptian pictures is believed to be a narcoleptic medicine. Wikipedia LINK.
The mildly sedating effects of N. caerulea makes it a likely candidate (among several) for the lotus plant eaten by the mythical Lotophagi in Homer'sOdyssey.
there is a story about then Odysseus' son visited Helen of Troy and she mixed drugs that she brought back from Egypt with their wine to make them forget her troubles. Was this also a blue lotus extract?
but that only explains opiod positive drug tests.
Nicotine however is from tobacco, an American plant...
As for the cocaine: ephedra tests similar to cocaine and is used in Chinese medicine. Cocaine is a modern drug: The original leaf was a tea, or chewed to cut down hunger pains. (lower dose).
Herbs in the ancient world were used for religious rituals, to "see god" or to get visions. I remember reading that early Christians, who frowned on such use, wondered why they didn't get all these visions of their "god" like their pagan neighbors. well, duh.
One suspects that some people used them to get high outside of religious rituals, but this was frowned on by most societies. (in the ritual, the drug use is controlled: abuse to get high would be seen as a societal problem).
And of course, drugs and herbs were used by doctors, to relieve pain of body and soul.
but the other question is if the presence of such drugs means ships traveling across the ocean to get them. a lot more traveling around was done back then, but the presence of American drugs in quite a few mummies would mean regular trade (and there should be archeological evidence) or more likely one or two ships blown off course and the plants grown locally. (like the Sweet Potato from South America being found in Polynesia).