Morphine is one of the oldest and most powerful pain relievers. Referred to as an opiate, morphine is one of the main chemicals found in opium, a gooey sap-like substance obtained from the opium poppy. Morphine can produce extraordinary relief from many types of pain, but also produces other effects such as sedation, constipation, lowered pulse and blood pressure, and feelings of extreme pleasure. Morphine and other opiate drugs are often called narcotic drugs, since in high doses they can produce heavy sedation and a sleep- or coma-like state called narcosis. Prolonged use of morphine can result in dependence and addiction, even when the pain that necessitated a prescription for the narcotic has disappeared. This use of prescription narcotic pain relievers for reasons other than pain relief is a growing problem in the United States and elsewhere. Morphine covers the history, uses, and dangers of this addictive drug.
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