Slang Terms

Morphine is known on the street and elsewhere as M, Number 13 (13th letter of alphabet, cf. Number 8 for heroin, Number 3 for codeine or cocaine), glad stuff, happy stuff, happy powder, white nurse, Red Cross, first line, unkie, mojo, God's Own Medicine, Vitamin M, Emma. Emmy, Lady M, white lady, cube, cube juice, mo, morf, morph, morpho, Miss Emma, mofo, hard stuff, shit, dope, dry grog, white hop (more accurately used for pantopon-type drugs), white merchandise, uncle, Uncle Morphy, big M, Murphy, morphy, coby, cobics, gold dust, monkey dust, love dust (cf. "initiative" for cocaine; more commonly used for MDA or MDMA), needle candy (cf. nose candy for cocaine; heroin, Dilaudid, Numorphan and the like are also known as such) and others.

MS Contin tablets are known as misties, and the 100 mg extended-release tablets as greys and blockbusters. The "speedball" can use morphine as the narcotic component, which is combined with cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, or similar drugs. "Blue Velvet" is a combination of morphine with the antihistamine tripelennamine (Pyrabenzamine, PBZ, Pelamine) taken by injection, or less commonly the mixture when swallowed or used as a retention enema; the name is also known to refer to a combination of tripelennamine and dihydrocodeine or codeine tablets or syrups taken by mouth. "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 which 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.Morphine can be smoked, the most common method thereof being the Chasing The Dragon method as with heroin and opium and discussed in greater detail in the articles about such things. To perform a relatively crude acetylation to turn the morphine into heroin and related drugs immediately prior to use is known as AAing (for Acetic Anhydride) or home-bake, and the output of the procedure also known as home-bake or, as explored elsewhere in this article, Blue Heroin (not to be confused with Blue Magic heroin, nor the linctus known as Blue Morphine or Blue Morphone, nor the Blue Velvet mixture described above. Morphine is rarely referred to as "hospital heroin" or "drugstore heroin" -- hydromorphone is usually the definition of this term; it can also be used for oxymorphone, nicomorphine, dihydromorphine, desomorphine, dextromoramide, and, of course, medicinal diamorphine (heroin) where it is still in medical use.

Precursor to other opioids, in a pharmaceutical manufacturing setting

Morphine is a precursor in the manufacture in a large number of opioids such as dihydromorphine, hydromorphone, nicomorphine, and heroin as well as codeine, which itself has a large family of semi-synthetic derivatives. Morphine is commonly treated with acetic anhydride and ignited to yield heroin. The pharmacology of heroin and morphine is identical except the two acetyl groups increase the lipid solubility of the heroin molecule, causing it to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain more rapidly. Once in the brain, these acetyl groups are removed to yield morphine, which causes the subjective effects of heroin. Thus, heroin may be thought of as a more rapidly acting form of morphine..

Precursor to other opioids, in an underground and illicit setting

Illicit morphine is rarely produced from codeine found in over the counter cough and pain medicines. This demethylation reaction is often performed using pyridine and hydrochloric acid.

Another source of illicit morphine comes from the extraction of morphine from extended release morphine products, such as MS-Contin. Morphine can be extracted from these products with simple extraction techniques to yield a morphine solution that can be injected. Alternatively, the tablets can be crushed and snorted, injected or swallowed, although this provides much less euphoria although retaining some of the extended-release effect and the extended-release property is why MS-Contin is used in some countries alongside methadone, dihydrocodeine, buprenorphine, dihydroetorphine, piritramide, levo-alpha-acetylmethadol (LAAM) and special 24-hour formulations of hydromorphone for maintenance and detoxification of those physically dependent on opioids.

Another means of using or misusing morphine is to use chemical reactions to turn it into heroin or another stronger opioid. Morphine can, using a technique reported in New Zealand (where the initial precursor is codeine) and elsewhere known as home-bake, be turned into what is usually a mixture of morphine, heroin, 3-monoacetylmorphine, 6-monoacetylmorphine, and codeine derivatives like acetylcodeine if the process is using morphine made from demethylating codeine by mixing acetic anhydride or acetyl chloride with the morphine and cooking it in an oven between 80 and 85°C for several hours.Since heroin is one of a series of 3,6 diesters of morphine, it is possible to convert morphine to nicomorphine (Vilan) using nicotinic anhydride, dipropanoylmorphine with propionic anhydride, dibutanoylmorphine and disalicyloylmorphine with the respective acid anhydrides. Glacial acetic acid can be used to obtain a mixture high in 6-monoacetylmorphine, nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) in some form would be precursor to 6-nicotinylmorphine, salicylic acid may yield the salicyoyl analogue of 6-MAM, and so on.

Homebake or other clandestinely-produced heroin produced from extended-release morphine tablets may be known as Blue Heroin because of the blue colour of some of these tablets, even though the coloured coating of the tablet is usually removed before processing, many strengths of the tablets are not blue, bluish or a related colour like purple, and the final product tends not to be blue. A writer of a 2006 description of producing heroin from 100 mg as well as some 30 and 15 mg MS-Contin type tablets coined the term Blue Heroin to distinguish his, her or their product from New Zealand-style homebake as the process was shorter and began with uncoated tablets which in the case of the 100 mg tablet was at or above 35 per cent morphine sulphate by weight, resulting in a final liquid injectable which was brown-purple and quite potent. The drugs present in the final product are limited to heroin, 6-monoacetylmorphine, 3-monoacetylmorphine, and morphine, with the 6-MAM being just as or more sought than the heroin for reasons elucidated in the Wikipedia heroin article.The clandestine conversion of morphine to ketones of the hydromorphone class or other derivatives like dihydromorphine (Paramorfan), desomorphine (Permonid), metopon &c. and codeine to hydrocodone (Dicodid), dihydrocodeine (Paracodin) &c. is more involved, time consuming, requires lab equipment of various types, and usually requires expensive catalysts and large amounts of morphine at the outset and is less common but still has been discovered by authorities in various ways during the last 20 years or so. Dihydromorphine can be acetylated into another 3,6 morphine diester, namely diacetyldihydromorphine (Paralaudin), and hydrocodone into thebacon.

Legal classification

  • In the United Kingdom, morphine is listed as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and a Schedule 2 Controlled Drug under The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
  • In the United States, morphine is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
  • In Canada, morphine is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
  • In Australia, morphine is classified as a Schedule 8 drug under the variously titled State and Territory Poisons Acts.
  • In the Netherlands, morphine is classified as a List 1 drug under the Opium Law.
  • In Japan, morphine is classified as a narcotic under the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Act.
  • Internationally, morphine is a Schedule I drug under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Access to morphine in poor countries

Although morphine is cheap, people in poorer countries often do not have access to it. According to a 2005 estimate by the International Narcotics Control Board, six countries (Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and the United States) consume 79 percent of the world’s morphine. The less affluent countries, accounting for 80 percent of the world's population, consumed only about 6 percent of the global morphine supply. Some countries import virtually no morphine, and in others the drug is rarely available even for relieving severe pain while dying.

Experts in pain management attribute the under-distribution of morphine to an unwarranted fear of the drug's potential for addiction and abuse. While morphine is clearly addictive, Western doctors believe it is worthwhile to use the drug and then wean the patient off when the treatment is over.

Source: Wikipedia