Homegrown Morphine Is All the Buzz

Morphine
Homegrown morphine is all the buzz these days. Scientists have recently figured out how to synthesize morphine and other similar painkillers without using opium poppy plants, which opens the door for consumers to adapt home-brewer kits for hardcore drug manufacturing. While there are no reports of homegrown morphine laboratories at this time, many experts feel it is only a matter of time and are calling for regulations to prevent do-it-yourselfers from producing morphine in their garages, which can be easily converted into heroin and may lead to even wider drug abuse issues.

Poppy plants have been cultivated for centuries for opium, from which the drug is derived. A team of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have recently discovered the final missing link in the manufacturing process and published their findings on Monday, May 18 in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

Morphine is a narcotic analgesic and Schedule II controlled substance painkiller. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Its possible side effects include skin irritation, constipation, headache, and dizziness. Moreover, it also poses a Category C pregnancy risk, which means that risk to the fetus cannot be ruled out if taken by pregnant women. Other painkillers listed in the same drug class include Oxycodone or Oxycontin, Codeine, Fentanyl, Tramadol, and Hydromorphone among others. Furthermore, the drug can be prescribed under several brand names including DepoDur, Avinza, Duramorph, Kadian, and Astramorph to name a few.

Now that scientists have discovered the final missing link in the manufacturing process and can synthesize the painkillers without the use of opium poppy plants, experts feel it is only a matter of time before homegrown morphine is all the buzz. It is important to note that the process is inefficient at this stage and it would be extremely difficult for consumers to manufacture homemade painkillers, but the prospect is on the horizon. Even scientists project they are still years away from lab-generated morphine that is strong enough to effectively treat pain. However, in this technological age, a time will come in the not-too-distance future when brewing morphine and other similar painkillers may be as simple as brewing beer.

The fact that scientists have recently figured out the manufacturing process to produce the drug and other similar painkillers without the use of opium poppy plants has opened the door for consumers to adapt home-brewer kits for hardcore drug manufacturing. This discovery has led to homegrown morphine being all the buzz. While there are no reports of homegrown morphine laboratories at this time, many experts feel it is only a matter of time and are calling for regulations to prevent consumers from producing the drug in their homes and/or garages, which can be easily converted into heroin and may lead to even wider drug abuse issues. Consider the number of homegrown marijuana and meth labs that have inundated the U.S. in recent years, and it is certainly not far-fetched to forecast a similar fate for a potent drug such as morphine, which can be easily converted into heroin. The potential economics involved are staggering and costs to human lives as well as society are frightening. Yet, the prospect of homegrown morphine is all the buzz.

By Leigh Haugh

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Sources:
New York Times–A Way to Brew Morphine Raises Concerns Over Regulation
NPR–Home-Brewed Morphine Is Around the Corner
Digital Journal–Create Home-Made Morphine With DIY Beer Kits
Times of India–Home-Made Morphine Raises Fear of Heroin Abuse
BBC–‘Home-Brewed Morphine’ Made Possible

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