Category Archives: Morphine

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds. – DISINFORMATION.COM

The Drug War’s Effect On Bodies And Minds

Posted by JacobSloan onMarch 7, 2012

brokenglassfaceVia Brooklyn Rail, Jason Flores-Williams, a defense lawyer whose father spent sixteen years in prison on drug charges, on the influence of the War on Drugs on how we think:

There are two kinds of power and the drug war’s got them both in spades. The first is we’ll-kick-your-ass power. If you don’t go along with our vision of things, then we’re going to throw you in jail and try to ruin you. It’s the kind of power we think of when we think of China, except that when it comes to the prison-industrial complex we’re actually more repressive than they are.

The second power is foundational to all other forms of power: the power to make people doubt and dislike themselves. All we have to do is look in the mirror to know that the drug war has been an absurdity. Have you ever used drugs? Are you a felon who deserves to go to state prison for it? Are you an enemy of the state? That time last year that you and your husband dropped the kids off for the night at your brother’s house, then smoked weed to have sex in the privacy of your own bedroom—you do realize that makes you a bad person, yes? A good parent would right now call the cops. You should testify against each other. In fact, you and your husband should proceed immediately to the police station and turn yourselves in. And that time last May when your best friend from college came into town and you went out together to that bar that you’ve always wanted to check out and did some blow in the bathroom. Have you reported yourself to the D.E.A.? You unpatriotic scumbag. Or the shrooms you took that Fourth of July at your friend’s pool party—have you cooperated with state and federal authorities, given over the names and addresses of everyone who was there that night? We need you to name names. You must name names. Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

We let ourselves be criminalized. Forced into the shadows. Made to feel like bad people for relaxing on a Friday night after working 75-hour weeks for the last month and a half. You shouldn’t have been over at your friend’s smoking a joint, talking about what the government needs to do—you should have been back home alone watching TV. We need you isolated. Under control. You don’t know what’s best for you. We know what’s best for you. We are better than you. And everyone on our side, all the people we’ve bought off and put on the payroll, are better than you, too. You just don’t get it: We control the idea of America.

American citizens are being beaten down and oppressed every day because every soul incarcerated means cash money to law enforcement. And more important, the war is a constant reminder that the U.S. government can jail your body and try to own your soul.

I don’t want to sully an article of this calber, but speaking generally America isn’t even remotely in this war.  In fact it has been some time since anyone that isn’t an overbearing sociopath has thought 2 times on the issue to the negative of the current failed (since the 70’s) policy/ policies that we call the rule of law… with a wink, nod, and payment made to South American and Central Asian violent gangs who we probably started or support the fight they do against someone we don’t support for a reason that no one that isn’t on the UNODCP or DEA, INTERPOL, BATFE, or inteligence community INC payment plan could give a half of a shit and 3 drops of piss about.

That’s why Americans sit in jail in the HIGHEST NUMBERS [per capita] in the WORLD (China’s not even close) and you may say: “well those countries just shoot people rather than jail them… guess what ass, we do too.  DEA kicks in the wrong door… bam, your amendment rights are getting on his boot, and what was your floor… before your untimley departure from spaceship earth. Sorry to get all graphic,but this is all too real and it’s time to STOP THE MADNESS! Please do SOMETHING!.

Is alcohol worse than Ecstasy? 2008

Tuesday 5th February 2008, 9pm, BBC Two

Recent research has analysed the link between the harmful effects of drugs relative to their current classification by law with some startling conclusions. Perhaps most startling of all is that alcohol, solvents and tobacco (all unclassified drugs) are rated more dangerous than ecstasy, 4-MTA and LSD (all class A drugs). If the current ABC system is retained, alcohol would be rated a class A drug and tobacco class B.

The scientists involved, including members of the government’s top advisory committee on drug classification, have produced a rigorous assessment of the social and individual harm caused by 20 of the UK’s most dangerous drugs and believe this should form the basis of future ranking. They think the current ABC system is arbitrary and not based on any scientific evidence.

The drug policies have remained unchanged over the last 40 years so should they be reformed in the light of new research?

Continue reading Is alcohol worse than Ecstasy? 2008

Bi-Centennial of Morphine Brings New Info (along with a brief history)

As Morphine Turns 200, Drug That Blocks
Its Side Effects Reveals New Secrets

On May 21, 2005, the world of medicine will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the crystallization of morphine in Einbeck, Germany. Since 1805, morphine and its derivatives have become the most widely used treatment for severe pain. Now more than 230 tons of morphine is used each year for medical purposes including pain relief for patients with chronic pain or advanced medical illness and post-operative analgesia.

Although many new pain relievers have been synthesized since the crystallization of morphine from opium almost 200 years ago, "morphine remains the standard against which all new medications for postoperative pain relief are compared," notes Jonathan Moss, M.D., Ph.D., professor of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago.

Despite 200 years of increasingly frequent use however, even the medical uses of morphine still present problems, such as severe nausea, itching, and constipation.

Moss has been invited to speak at the Einbeck morphine-commemorative conference in May on the relationship between morphine and a drug known as methylnaltrexone — a peripheral opiate antagonist developed at the University of Chicago — which can prevent many of these troubling side effects.

Moss’s lecture, "Morphine’s secrets revealed," will focus on how methylnaltrexone enables scientists to distinguish between the central analgesic effects of morphine and its peripheral side effects.

Discovery of morphine

Morphine was discovered by Freidrich Wilhelm Adam Serturner (1783-1841), an obscure, uneducated, 21-year-old pharmacist’s assistant with little equipment but loads of curiosity.

Serturner wondered about the medicinal properties of opium, which was widely used by 18th-century physicians. In a series of experiments, performed in his spare time and published in 1806, he managed to isolate an organic alkaloid compound from the resinous gum secreted by Papaver somniferum — the opium poppy.

Serturner found that opium with the alkaloid removed had no effect on animals, but the alkaloid itself had ten times the power of processed opium. He named that substance morphine, after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, for its tendency to cause sleep. He spent several years experimenting with morphine, often on himself, learning its therapeutic effects as well as its considerable dangers. Although his work was initially ignored, he recognized its significance. "I flatter myself," he wrote in 1816, that "my observations have explained to a considerable extent the constitution of opium, and that I have enriched chemistry with a new acid (meconic) and with a new alkaline base (morphium), a remarkable substance."

As he predicted, chemists and physicians soon grew interested in his discoveries. Serturner’s crystallization of morphine was the first isolation of a natural plant alkaloid. It sparked the study of alkaloid chemistry and hastened the emergence of the modern pharmaceutical industry.

Other researchers soon began to isolate similar alkaloids from organic substances, such as strychnine in 1817, caffeine in 1820 and nicotine in 1828. In 1831, Serturner won a lucrative prize for the discovery.

In 1818, French physician Francois Magendie published a paper that described how morphine brought pain relief and much-needed sleep to an ailing young girl. This stimulated widespread medical interest. By the mid-1820s morphine was widely available in Western Europe in standardized doses from several sources, including the Darmstadt chemical company started by Heinrich Emanuel Merck.

By the 1850s the first reliable syringes were developed and injected morphine became a standard method of reducing pain during and after surgery. Since then, various delivery systems for morphine have been developed, including epidural injection and pumps that allow patient-controlled analgesia.

Although morphine was originally touted as a cure for many maladies, even for opium addiction, by the 1870s physicians had become increasingly aware of its own addictive properties. Ironically, C.R. Alder Wright, a chemist at a London hospital who was searching for a non-addictive alternative to morphine, came up with a more potent narcotic, diacetylmorphine, in 1874.

Heinrich Dreser, a chemist at Bayer Laboratories developed and tested Wright’s new semi-synthetic drug on animals, humans, and most notably himself. Finding that it was a powerful painkiller and appeared effective for a variety of respiratory ailments, Bayer began producing and marketing this drug as an analgesic and a "sedative for coughs" in 1898. Because of its "heroic" ability to relieve pain, they called it heroin.

The medical profession initially welcomed the new drug but soon recognized it’s addictive potential. In 1913, Bayer halted production, edited the drug out of their official company history and focused instead on marketing their second blockbuster drug, aspirin.

Discovery of Methylnaltrexone

Yearly, more than 500,000 patients with advanced cancer depend on powerful opioid-based pain relievers such as morphine, or its derivatives OxyContin or Percocet, for pain relief. One side effect of all narcotic pain relievers is severe constipation, which can be so distressing that many patients discontinue their pain medication.

To solve this problem, the late Leon Goldberg, a University of Chicago pharmacologist, developed methylnaltrexone (MNTX). In order to help a friend with morphine-induced constipation, Goldberg modified naltrexone, an established drug that blocks the effects of morphine, so that it could no longer cross the protective barrier that surrounds the brain. Consequently, it did not interfere with morphine’s effect on pain, which is centered in the brain, but it did block morphine’s effects on gut motility, which are mediated by receptors in the gastrointestinal tract.

Goldberg’s university colleagues continued to develop the compound, testing it in animals and performing the initial human safety trials and clinical studies in volunteers and patients.

The University of Chicago licensed the MNTX technology to UR Labs, Inc. and in 2001, Progenics Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, NY, sub-licensed the worldwide exclusive rights to develop MNTX from UR Labs. One phase 3 trial of MNTX for treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced medical illness has been completed and results from a second trial were reported May 17 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Progenix has a target date of New Drug Application submission in late 2005.

Meanwhile, Moss and his University colleagues have identified multiple uses of MNTX, beyond the original discovery by Goldberg. Some of these additional uses of MNTX include treatment of post-operative bowel dysfunction (a serious impairment of the gastrointestinal tract following surgery), opioid-induced itching, urinary retention, and possibly HIV.

Opiates appear to increase the ability of HIV to infect certain immune system cells. In 2003, Moss reported that very small amounts of methylnaltrexone blocked these increases. "If our studies are borne out in future clinical trials, methylnaltrexone may improve the care of patients who take opioids for pain caused by AIDS," he said.

"Two hundred years after Serturner’s work, we continue to learn a great deal about morphine," Moss said. "The ability to facilitate pain relief while minimizing side effects is both conceptually important and very relevant to patient care."