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Morphine is the most abundant analgesic opiate found in opium and is a potent pain reliever. The drug is used in clinical pain relief but is also used illicitly for recreational purposes among drug users. It is potentially highly addictive and can cause intense physical dependence that leads to abuse of the substance.

Morphine acts directly on the central nervous system to decrease the feeling of pain. But morphine may cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems.

Morphine is commonly available in the form of a tablet, syrup, injection or as a suppository. Depending on its form, morphine may be injected, swallowed, or even smoked.

Morphine was the first active principle purified from a plant source and is one of at least 50 alkaloids of several different types present in opium and other poppy derivatives.

Commercial production began in Darmstadt, Germany in 1827 by the pharmacy that became the pharmaceutical company Merck, with morphine sales being a large part of their early growth.

Heroin was synthesized from morphine in 1874 and brought to market by Bayer in 1898.

Morphine was the most commonly abused narcotic analgesic in the world until heroin was synthesized and came into use.

Morphine is the prototype narcotic drug and is the standard against which all other opioids are tested.

Morphine is known on the street and elsewhere as M, sister morphine, Vitamin M, morpho, etc.

“Morphia” is an older official term for morphine also used as a slang term. “Driving Miss Emma” is intravenous administration of morphine. Multi-purpose tablets (readily soluble hypodermic tablets that can also be swallowed or dissolved under the tongue or betwixt the cheek and jaw) are known, as are some brands of hydromorphone, as Shake & Bake or Shake & Shoot.

Abusers of morphine have one of the highest relapse rates among all drug users, ranging up to 98% in the estimation of some medical experts.