Morphine Addiction in the 1930s

Extracted from opium poppy plant in the early 1800s, morphine was first marketed as an analgesic as is continued to be prescribed for such use as well as for extreme pain, severe coughs, and chronic diarrhea. As a single drug entity, morphine was used without restriction prior to 1914 when it was then classified as a controlled substance.

The most notable derivative of morphine is heroin which was synthesized from morphine in the 1870s. Since Bayer first brought heroin to the market in the 1890s, substantial pharmaceutical research has ensued. Prior to the introduction of heroin, morphine had been the mostly commonly abused narcotic analgesic in the world.

Morphine Uses

While initially thought to treat opium, morphine addiction abuse and alcohol addiction, it was later discovered that morphine was actually more addictive than either opium or alcohol. Even with its addictive and tolerance characteristics, morphine continues to be a component of, or a foundation of, many current pharmaceutical products from A (Avinza) to Z (Zomorph).

In 1930, János Kábay, a chemist, determined a method for deriving morphine from poppy straw, thus increasing its availability and use. Today, more than 230 tons of morphine are used each year for medical purposes including pain relief for patients with chronic pain or advanced medical illness and post-operative analgesia.

Morphine Addiction in the 1930s

Morphine’s use during the Civil War and World War II has been widely documented. During the Civil War, over 400,000 people presented with morphine addiction that was referred to as “soldier’s disease.” During World War II with the invention of the syrette, medics administered morphine to alleviate pain. A notable precaution on the part of the medics was to pin the syrette to the casualty’s collar to prevent overdose.

While morphine was accepted as the standard against which all new medications for postoperative pain relief are compared, many people were abusing morphine. One of the most noted instances of abuse during that period was when Sigmund Freud’s physician administered three doses of morphine over many hours that resulted in his death in 1939.

In the 1930s, the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) took responsibility for drug policy enforcement. The FBN spearheaded anti-drug crusades to criminalize narcotics possession. In 1951, the Boggs Act imposed a mandatory minimum two-year sentence for possession. The Narcotic Control Act of 1956 raised the minimum sentence for a third offense to 10 to 40 years and permitted death sentences for drug sellers who dealt to minors.

Side Effects of Morphine Use

Most side effects associated with monitored morphine use are mild and often require no treatment, including:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating

Get Help for Morphine Addiction

Recovering from morphine with proper medical supervision and support services is possible. If you or someone you know is addicted to morphine, call our toll free number today at (877) 259-5633. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about morphine addiction treatment. We are here to help.