principal derivative of opium
, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy
, Papaver somniferum.
It was first isolated from opium in 1803 by the German pharmacist F. W. A. Sertürner, who named it after Morpheus
, the god of dreams. Given intravenously, it is still considered the most effective drug for the relief of pain.
See also drug addiction and drug abuse.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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