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Mason Paul

Research Paper Morphine
I chose to do my research paper on Morphine, I chose this drug because I have seen
how people behave on this drug, also I have noticed that it is given rather quickly to people
experiencing much pain. I was interested to find out the history of this drug, the effects it has on
your body and also mostly interested to draw a conclusion on whether or not this drug should be
used continually as a means of relief or if it is harming the patients more than doing good.
Morphine and other opiates have been known to mankind for centuries. Applications of
the drug have been varied ranging from pain relief for war injuries and chronic painful diseases
through to recreational use among drug abusers. The less desirable effects of upload use
include constipation, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting. (Anderson, Leigh A. "Morphine."
<i></i>. N.p., 15 Nov. 2015. Web.)
In the 18th century, Europe had a high demand for Chinese goods such as tea and silk
but the Chinese did not have a high demand for European goods, creating a trade deficit. In
order to pay China back for their goods, Britain gave China the only commodity they would
accept which was silver. However, to obtain enough silver, the British had to buy it from other
European countries, creating further debt.
In 1773 ,the British conquered the Bengal Province in India which the World's largest producer
of opium at the time. With the Indian poppy fields now under British control, Britain decided to
start trading opium as a way of addressing the trade imbalance between China and Britain.
Soon, opium addiction had spread across China and in 1839 the emperor seized and burned all
opium brought in by British ships. This marked the beginning of the opium wars, during which
the British defeated the Chinese and resumed the opium trade.
With the development of transport networks and the dawn of industrialization in America,
many Asians fled to America to work. They brought with them the opium that was so common in

their country and the use of the drug became common. Opium addiction rose in alarming
proportions and the drug was frequently found in people's homes throughout the 18th and 19th
Alternatives to opium were soon found. Scientists wanted to preserve the medicinal
properties of opium such as pain relief and cough suppression but they also wanted to modify
the drug so that it was less addictive.
Between 1805 and 1816, a pharmacist's assistant called Friedrich Wilhelm Serturner
managed to isolate a yellowish-white crystalline compound from crude opium after immersing it
in ammoniated hot water. He first tested this compound on a few dogs which resulted in their
death. He then tested smaller doses on himself and some boys and found that the effects were
pain relief and euphoria. He also noted that high doses of the drug could lead to psychiatric
effects, nausea, vomiting, depression of the cough, constipation and slowed breathing. Pain
relief with the use of this compound, however, was ten times that experienced with opium use.
Serturner named his compound morphine, after the Greek God of dreams, Morpheus.
Morphine soon began to gain popularity as a pain reliever. The drug was commercially
produced in the mid-19th century and was used as an alternative to opium and also as a
substitution therapy to help cure opium addiction. In 1853, the first hypodermic needle was
perfected providing an enhanced mode of administration where the drug could be delivered
directly to the bloodstream.
During the mid-19th century, both opium and cocaine addiction were on the rise and
laudanum (an opium tonic) and snuff which contained cocaine were popular.
Soldiers who had been injured during war became some of the first people to develop morphine
addiction and morphine dependence was nicknamed "Soldier's Disease." Increasingly,
morphine was being injected using hypodermic needles. (Stewart, Judith. " |
Prescription Drug Information, Interactions &amp; Side Effects." <i></i>. Karen

Wilson, 4 Nov. 2015. Web.) The early 20th century, governments and governing bodies
worldwide passed tough legislations banning morphine abuse. For example, the Harrison
Narcotics Act which restricted morphine abuse was passed by Congress in 1914. Similarly, in
1970, the Controlled Substances Act which classifies morphine as a schedule II drug, was
Morphine, is a narcotic that acts directly on the central nervous system. Besides
relieving pain, it impairs mental and physical performance, relieves fear and anxiety, and
produces euphoria. It also decreases hunger, inhibits the cough reflex, produces constipation,
and usually reduces the sex drive; in women it may interfere with the menstrual cycle.
Morphine is highly addictive. Tolerance and physical and psychological dependence develop
quickly. Withdrawal from morphine causes nausea, tearing, yawning, chills, and sweating lasting
up to three days. Morphine crosses the placental barrier, and babies born to morphine-using
mothers go through withdrawal. (Macdonald, Joann. “Morphine" <i>Youth Health Magzine
RSS</i>. Jesse Lent, 2015. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.) Today morphine is used medicinally for severe
pain, cough suppression, and sometimes before surgery. It is seldom used illicitly except by
doctors and other medical personnel who have access to the drug. It is injected, taken orally or
inhaled, or taken through rectal suppositories. Methadone treatment has been useful in curing
morphine addiction.
Although morphine is most commonly used as a means of providing pain relief. The side effects
of morphine vary somewhat and while some of the adverse effects seen with initial therapy are
short-term, others may be long-term, especially when the drug is used over longer durations of
Some common side effects associated with morphine use include:

Gastrointestinal side effects - These include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps

and constipation. Opioid receptors for morphine are present in the gastrointestinal tract and their

activation may lead to a slowing of gut movement, leading to constipation. Long-term use leads
to severe constipation. In addition, morphine stimulates the vomiting centre of the brain causing
nausea and vomiting. Morphine and codeine cause more nausea than other opioids. There may
be drying of the mouth as well.

Sedation - Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, morphine is one of

the most powerful sedative opioids. People taking morphine are therefore advised to refrain
from driving and operating heavy machinery to avoid accidents.

Skin changes - Morphine may lead to the release of histamine in the skin leading

to warmth, flushing and urticaria or allergic eruptions across the skin. Skin may appear cool and
clammy and a severe chill called hypothermia may develop.

Shrunken pupils - Morphine may cause the pupils to constrict and appear pin-

pointed in size.

Respiratory depression - The breathing mechanism can become suppressed in

response to low blood oxygen. In healthy individuals, as blood oxygen falls and blood carbon
dioxide rises, the drive for breathing increases. However, morphine suppresses this drive in the
brain, potentially causing this very dangerous side effect. Respiratory depression is more
common with higher doses.

Initial doses lead to euphoria but at higher doses unpleasant symptoms such as

hallucinations, delirium, dizziness and confusion manifest. There may be some amount of
headache and memory loss.

Biliary colic and subsequent severe abdominal pain is common in morphine


With high doses, muscle rigidity and abnormal movement of the limbs and

muscles called myoclonus may manifest. ("Dove Medical Press - Open Access Publisher of
Medical Journals." <i>Dove Medical Press - Open Access Publisher of Medical Journals</i>.

N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.•) One of the prominent side effects of morphine use is the
development of physical or psychological dependence on the drug and withdrawal symptoms
when the drug is stopped. Morphine is a highly addictive substance and some of the withdrawal
symptoms include pain, loss of sleep, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, goose bumps, hot and cold
flashes and intense craving.

Development of tolerance - Tolerance describes when a person needs to take a

drug in higher doses to achieve the same degree of e.g. euphoria or pain relief as before.
Developing a tolerance in this way often means addicts use higher doses of the drug.

Transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C among drug

abusers who use needles to inject the drug.
All in all I have come to the conclusion that Morphine is definitely an effective drug.
Although I feel as though more discoveries have been made concerning the drug that we as a
whole are coming up with new and improved ways to use the drug and also discovering better
alternatives that can be more beneficial, and less harmful if we try to imply them. I agree that we
must use this drug to assist with our medical procedures but possibly not as freely and also not
as much. It seems that the risk we run in giving this drug to the patients and having them enjoy
and possibly need more is worse than giving them a less strong opioid. I hope that someday
soon we can figure out drugs that will be more effective and less harmful in our pain relief
process. ( Topol, Eric J., MD. "News." <i></i>. N.p., 2015. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.)