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principal derivative of opiumopium,
substance derived by collecting and drying the milky juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Opium varies in color from yellow to dark brown and has a characteristic odor and a bitter taste.
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, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppypoppy,
common name for some members of the Papaveraceae, a family composed chiefly of herbs of the Northern Hemisphere having a characteristic milky or colored sap. Most species are native to the Old World; many are cultivated in gardens for their brilliantly colored if
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, Papaver somniferum. It was first isolated from opium in 1803 by the German pharmacist F. W. A. Sertürner, who named it after MorpheusMorpheus
, in Greek and Roman mythology, god of dreams. The son of Hypnos (or Somnus), the god of sleep, he brought dreams of human forms. His brothers Phobetor and Phantasos induced dreams of animals and inanimate objects, respectively.
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, the god of dreams. Given intravenously, it is still considered the most effective drug for the relief of pain.

See also drug addiction and drug abusedrug addiction and drug abuse,
chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than medically warranted purposes. Traditional definitions of addiction, with their criteria of physical dependence and withdrawal (and often an underlying
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Effects and Uses

Morphine, a narcoticnarcotic,
any of a number of substances that have a depressant effect on the nervous system. The chief narcotic drugs are opium, its constituents morphine and codeine, and the morphine derivative heroin.

See also drug addiction and drug abuse.
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, 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 (the need for higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect) 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.

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. Methadonemethadone
, synthetic narcotic similar in effect to morphine. Synthesized in Germany, it came into clinical use after World War II. It is sometimes used as an analgesic and to suppress the cough reflex.
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 treatment has been useful in curing morphine addiction.


Morphine was first used medicinally as a painkiller and, erroneously, as a cure for opium addiction. It quickly replaced opium as a cure-all recommended by doctors and as a recreational drug and was readily available from drugstores or through the mail. Substitution of morphine addiction for alcohol addiction was considered beneficial by some physicians because alcohol is more destructive to the body and is more likely to trigger antisocial behavior. Morphine was used during the American Civil WarCivil War,
in U.S. history, conflict (1861–65) between the Northern states (the Union) and the Southern states that seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy.
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 as a surgical anesthetic and was sent home with many wounded soldiers for relief of pain. At the end of the war, over 400,000 people had the "army disease," morphine addiction. The Franco-Prussian War in Europe had a similar effect.

In 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act required accurate labeling of patent medicines and tonics. Various laws restricting the importation of opium were enacted, and the Harrison Narcotics Act (1914) prohibited possession of narcotics unless properly prescribed by a physician. Despite legislation, morphine maintained much of its popularity until heroinheroin
, opiate drug synthesized from morphine (see narcotic). Originally produced in 1874, it was thought to be not only nonaddictive but useful as a cure for respiratory illness and morphine addiction, and capable of relieving morphine withdrawal symptoms.
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 came into use, it in its turn believed to be a cure for morphine addiction.


See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.



an alkaloid of opium, a medicinal preparation of the group of analgesics.

Morphine hydrochloride is prescribed by physicians to relieve pain resulting from injuries and severe pain accompanying various diseases. It is also used in preparing a patient for surgery and in the postoperative period. Morphine is sometimes used to alleviate severe dyspnea owing to cardiac insufficiency. The prolonged use of morphine may result in addiction to the drug.


C17H19NO3·H2O A white crystalline narcotic powder, melting point 254°C, an alkaloid obtained from opium; used in medicine in the form of a hydrochloride or sulfate salt.


, morphia
an alkaloid extracted from opium: used in medicine as an analgesic and sedative, although repeated use causes addiction. Formula: C17H19NO3
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, a shot from Interior Scroll, "The Cave," appears in VULVA'S MORPHIA, one of twelve photographic images of Schneemann's anatomy among the thirty-six images of the book.
(16) 'The Morphia Habit and its Treatment', Journal of Mental Science, XXXIV (April, 1888), p.
Though almost hidden by the poem's rollicking style, the details of Graves's actual suffering have been there all along: the stretcher on which he enters the underworld is the one on which he left the battlefield; he is "breathless" (1.14) before he even begins his run because a shell fragment has pierced his lung; morphia is portrayed as a godsend because he was left screaming in pain.
He did what he never does with laboring women, he dosed her with morphia, a heavy dose that put her under so long he feared she'd never wake.
He is having brandy, strychnine and digitalis as well as outward applications, but nothing but morphia gives him relief.
There is offensive language appropriate to the period, as well as prevailing medical misinformation (including that "morphia" is a safe, non-habit-forming curative for depression) and mature sexual situations.
Dawson is said to have hastened the inevitable royal departure with a timeous lethal injection of morphia and cocaine into the regal jugular, giving syringe-needle sharpness to Dawson's old adversary and surgical peer, Baron Moynihan's, pricking measure of poetic justice:
Adams had injected Morrell with heroin and morphia with the intention of shortening her life, not alleviating her pain, so that he could allegedly benefit under her will.(26)
The most powerful drug in medicine today isn't morphia or penicillin.
It is fair enough to wonder why Dr Watson happens to have a hypodermic of morphia upon him when he is expecting a discussion on ceramics, but if Doyle describes a high scream ending in a sudden gurgle, followed by a description of a woman with a handkerchief round her mouth, do we need to be told that she screamed before she was gagged?
Later, as an aside, this physician mentioned that in perhaps thirty cases a year, patients' lives were ended after they been placed in a coma through the administration of morphia. When asked about the apparent discrepancy, she replied that the latter cases were not instances of euthanasia because they weren't voluntary; discussing the plan to end the patients' lives would be "rude", she said, particularly as they know they have an incurable condition.
Once again, though, the fact that Linda's tragi-comic death in the Park Lane Hospital in Brave New World, amid the clamour of a Bokanovsky group of "maggoty" Deltas undergoing death conditioning, the "Semi-finals of the South American Riemann-Surface Tennis Championship," the "Super-Vox-Wurlitzeriana rendering of 'Hug me till you drug me, honey,'" with its artificial draughts of "verbena" and "patchouli" (175-79), the fact that this is nothing like the tragedy of Gertrude Morel's death by morphia overdose at the hands of her son is for Meckier proof of the vengeful nature of Huxley's parody.