Morphine is a naturally occurring substance found in the Asian poppy plant. It has been used for over 6000 years as a way to treat pain and for its euphoric effects. Morphine is highly habit forming. Using the drug recreationally or in larger amounts or for longer periods of time than prescribed by a physician can lead to addiction. Morphine is an opioid pain reliever and changes the way the brain perceives pain. Morphine acts on the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. It reduces the perception of pain and the emotional response to pain. Morphine has been used in American society since before Civil War, where it was used to treat soldiers’ pain from their battle injuries. While morphine has been used for centuries, the following are some surprising facts you may not have heard before.
Recreational opium use, the precursor to morphine, became popular in the United States when thousands of Chinese men and boys came to this country to build the railroads in 1850s and 1880s. During these days, opium, morphine and heroin could be legally purchased and used without a prescription. One of the popular places to smoke opium was in opium dens. The first ban on smoking opium came in 1875 in San Francisco after city authorities learned that even women and children were being enticed into opium dens to take up the practice of smoking opium. At this time, opium addiction was known to ruin the lives of individuals and families.
Morphine was developed from opium in 1810 as a painkiller. It was considered a wonder drug, as it eliminated pain and gave the user feelings of euphoria that left him in a dream-like state. A German pharmacist named F.W.A. Serturner named the drug for the Greek god Morpheus.
Because morphine addiction was at epidemic levels in the mid-1800’s, German scientists worked to develop a new drug to combat the problem. Heroin, also an opium derivative was thought to be an effective way to wean morphine addicts off of the drug. But the use of heroin to treat morphine addition simply created a new kind of addict.
The abuse of morphine not only leads to addiction, it can also cause cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, respiratory failure, coma and death. When heroin enters the brain it is converted back to morphine, so those addicted to heroin and other opiates are essentially morphine addicts.
If you or a loved one struggles with morphine addiction, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about treatment options.