Alere is now Abbott



Morphine is a medicine prescribed to relieve severe pain, especially after operations and is often used in palliative care. The action of morphine on the body works by affecting the chemicals in the brain which are involved in the sensation of pain. The drug can cause dependence but in clinical use this is not a major concern.

The primary source of morphine is from the latex found in the seed head of the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum). In the UK poppy production for pharmaceutical use is authorised by the Home Office to produce pain relieving drugs. The latex contains about 8-14% morphine and can either be extracted from the raw latex or from poppy straw of the dried mature plant. The morphine is further purified and formulations whether for injection or in tablet form are produced for use.

Pharmaceutically prepared formulations are known to be diverted for illicit use.



Eaten in tablet form.



The liquid form of morphine is suitable for injection.

  • Pin point pupils
  • Depression of heart rate and respiration
  • Suppression of cough reflex
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Addiction
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Overdose
  • Death
  • Blood borne infection from sharing needles
Morphine injection and tablets


Molecular structure of morphine

Street Names

M, morph, miss emma

Legal Status

Class A Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to seven years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to life imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.