How Was Morphine Discovered?

There is and has been a national crisis of opioid abuse in our country. Opioids are prescribed painkillers, synthetic opioids, and illegal drugs such as Codeine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone. Some of these are prescribed daily for pain, acute and/or chronic. Many people who are prescribed painkillers abuse them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIH):

  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.

With this crisis continuing to be a problem in our country and others around the world you wonder how did this happen? To find that out we must backtrack and ask questions.

How Was Morphine Discovered?

History of Morphine Starts With Opioids and Opiates

First, what is an opiate/opioid? Opiates are any substances produced naturally from the opium poppy flower such as morphine, opium, heroin, and codeine. Opioids are synthetic opiates like fentanyl.  Both are painkillers that attach to your opioid receptors in your brain, which control pain and pleasure.

Most of us have been in the hospital for an injury or surgery and have been administered painkillers such as morphine. Morphine has been around for a long time and is a reliable painkiller in our hospitals. It is one of the oldest known painkillers. So how was morphine discovered?

The National Institute on Drugs (NIH) estimates that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain does not just mean that the pain lasts longer than the time it takes for the body to heal; it is a considered a disease that impairs function, distorts the nervous system, migrates to other areas of the body, and can impact moods and decrease a person’s overall quality of life.

Morphine and the Treatment of Severe Pain 

Doctors have been long trying to cure or aid chronic pain that so many people have suffered daily. The poppy plant was discovered and was used with a mixture of alcohol called laudanum in the 18th century. Friedrich Sertürner, a German pharmacist wanted to extract and isolate the active ingredient in opium so there wouldn’t be any harmful additive. He thought if extracted and purified, it could be delivered in a safe, effective, and reliable dose.

After many trial and errors, Serturner set aside his research for years until one evening when a bout of physical pain prompted him to pick up where he had left off. While suffering from a terrible toothache, he ingested a small number of his morphine salts, experienced tremendous relief, fell fast asleep, and awoke hours later to attest that this compound was, in fact, safe for human consumption.

Eventually, university researchers in France confirmed his results, and Serturner was ultimately credited with being the discoverer of the new substance, which he named “morphium” after Morpheus, the ancient Greek god of dreams.

Morphine is an Addictive Drug

You can become dependent on and if you don’t know the warning signs, becoming dependent can lead to an addiction that may end up an overdose. There is no difference in the fact that they both cause harm to you and, indirectly, your loved ones. If you or a loved one may be addicted to opioids, look our for some of these warning signs of an opioid use disorder/addiction:

  • Taking more than directed dose
  • Not being able to stop
  • Thinking about taking the pain medication
  • Continuing to take the medication even though it has caused troubling consequences
  • Hobbies that brought joy are no longer a part of your daily activities
  • Taking opioids while driving or during other dangerous situations
  • Growing a tolerance where the normal dose does not provide an effect, therefore, having to take more.

Morphine Addiction Help at Garden State Treatment Center

If you or a loved one is going through an opioid addiction and are ready to stop, Garden State Treatment Center can get you in the right direction with our Medication-Assisted Addiction Treatment (MAT). Medication-Assisted Treatment is an addiction intervention approach that involves the use of medication along with behavioral counseling.

This treatment option has seen high success rates even with addicts with a chronic history of drug and alcohol abuse. The main goal of MAT is to help the individual sustain recovery. The recommended medication works to stabilize the brain’s chemistry, shut off the euphoric effects of opioids and alcohol, ease physiological cravings and stabilize body functions, without the adverse side effects of the abused substance.

If the thought of facing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms has kept you away from starting treatment, then know that compassionate help is just around the corner. Regardless of the severity of your addiction, you can rest assured that our MAT program will help you achieve your goal of becoming clean again.