Morphine was discovered by a German pharmacist, Freidrich Wilhelm Adam SertÃ¼rner. SertÃ¼rner was always inquisitive and wanted to find out the therapeutic properties of opium which was much used by 18th-century physicians. He performed several experiments as a novice of pharmacist during his spare time and in the end was able to detach the active substance, organic alkaloid, from the gum produced by the opium poppy.
He carried out tests that proved that opium without the alkaloid did not affect animals while the alkaloid proved to be extremely more powerful than processed opium (Klockgether 245). He called the substance morphine, derived from Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams since it caused its consumers to sleep.
Morphine then began being used as a pain reliever and as a treatment for opium dependence. Many health experts of the time found it suitable to substitute morphine with alcohol for alcohol addicts, they considered that the effects of alcohol were more destructive to the body and could lead to unsociable conduct (Koch 199).
During the American Civil War, morphine was used as an anesthetic in the treatment of injured soldiers. At the end of the war, several of those on whom the drug had been used had developed an addiction to it. The same occurred in the European Franco-Prussian.
In the December of 1914, the United States Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Act which meant that each stage of morphine production, and other related products, had laid out controls (Koch 202). Possession of such substances was illegalized. However, some of the boundaries in the Harrison Narcotics Act were revised in the year 1970 by the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
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