Morphine is an opiate medication used for pain relief. As a controlled substance, morphine has a significant potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse. Because it is readily available and relatively inexpensive, it is often a popular drug of abuse.
During the 1800s, the French physiologist François Magendie advanced the use of morphine in medicine, administering it both orally and by injection. Morphine’s greatest medical advantage is its depressant action, which causes the threshold of pain to rise, relieving pain many other analgesics are unable to control. Its narcotic properties also produce a calming effect, protecting the body’s system in traumatic shock. Its greatest disadvantage, however, is its addictiveness.
Morphine abuse and addiction has been reported to be among the highest as compared to a large number of other types of similar drugs that are currently being used for the treatment of chronic and severe pain; additionally, drug overdose rates that have been linked directly to the medication have increased dramatically in comparison to other similar types of opiate based drugs. Drug researchers at Brown University conducted studies in relation to Morphine use that have indicated that as little as a single dose of the drug of the drug could potentially contribute to addiction; additionally, a study that was conducted by Japanese researchers concluded that mice that were administered just 10mg. of morphine, twice a day for as little as five days, exhibited drug withdrawal symptoms
Morphine’s popularity on the Civil War battlefields boosted its general use in the treatment of many kinds of discomfort, and a leading British doctor called morphine “God’s own medicine.” However, thousands of people worldwide were tragically addicted. In 1898, the Bayer corporation synthesized heroin from morphine and marketedit as an antidote to morphine addiction, but the concurrent moral reform movements were beginning to give rise to anti-opiate sentiments, and morphine’s popularity and acceptance began to decline. Today, morphine is often replacedin medicine by methadone, which also treats chronic pain and prevents morphine withdrawal symptoms.