Current + Past Issues over morphine

Some doctors argue about the use of morphine, but the overall consensus about morphine is that it is a good drug if not abused . Morphine has many different applications, and for millions of people in the world who have used the drug it has helped them in the reduction of their pain. The opposition to the drug mainly want a purified form which is not as addictive. So the debate does not lie on the drug itself but if the drug can be purified into being less addictive. (FDA- morphine report)

Legislative control over dangerous drugs may be dated back to the nineteenth century, to prevent acute poisoning by certain substances that might be purchased for their lethal potential. Opium was being sold in a crude form, containing about 10 percent morphine. Morphine had been isolated from opium in 1805, but production of the powerful ingredient was delayed until the 1830's. From this time onwards, factories in Germany, Great Britain, and the United States produced morphine in great quantities.

The Pharmacy Act of 1868, is an important symbol of legislative control in the Western Countries. The act established some limitation on the availability of dangerous drugs, that became serious problems for society as addictive agents. It had an apparently discouraging effect on the per capita consumption of opium,opiates, and cocaine in the late nineteenth century. The act itself was regulated by an organized association of pharmacists, called the Pharmaceutical Society (established 1841). In order to retail, dispense, or compound poisons or to assume the title of chemist,druggist, or pharmacist, an individual had to be registered by this society. As well as being the testing and registering body, the Society was also given the initial responsibility for adding new drugs to the poison list. Through the provisions of the Pharmacy Act and the Pharmaceutical Society, pharmacists achieved some control over their profession and a lead on the other health professions.

In nineteenth century America, the unimpeded importation of opium and the free economy in opiates gives an advantage to the historian, for estimates of per capita consumption. During this period, opium use in the United States rose dramatically. The peak of opiate addiction in the United States occurred about the turn of the century, where the number probably was close to 250,000 in a population that was about 76 million, a rate so far never equaled or exceeded.

Until the Pharmacy Act of 1868, the United States had no practical control over the health professions. There was also no representative national health organizations to aid the government in drafting regulations, and no controls on the labeling, consumption, or advertising of compounds that might contain opiates or cocaine. The United States not only proclaimed a free marketplace, it practiced this philosophy with regard to narcotics in a manner unrestrained at every level of preparation and consumption. (History of Legislative Control Over The Opiates)


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