"The amount of morphine used by women in New York is increasing"

Account of one doctor regarding opioid epidemic among New York women in 1899

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"The amount of morphine used by women in New York is increasing" - gnr-mont. which is ndmlrably adapted for...
gnr-mont. which is ndmlrably adapted for spring. TOE SIOnPllIXB HAIilT. A Fhyilclnn Says That It Is Bprendlng ot nn Alnrmlng Ilato In New York. "Tho amount of morphlno used by women In Now York Is Increasing at an alarming rnto." Bald a physician. "I do not give tho drug at all, savo in extreme cases, for I boliovo wo doctors nro largoly responsible tor tho spread ot tho oll. It sooms such an easy, merciful thing to relievo acuto suffering by n dose of morphine; and it would bo all right if tho patients couldn't get tho drug themselves. Thoy can got It. There's tho troublo. "I was called to sco ono of my patients last week. She is a wealthy woman. She developed tho morphlno habit two years ago, when sho had a serious illuoss. Since thon she has had periodical sprcos with morphlno, in spito of all wo could do to prevent her. Sho always says that tho doplorabls stato sho gets into Is due to other causes ; but I can tell, as so jn as I bos hor. whether she has boen taking morphine. Last weok. when I went to soo hor. sho was a nervous wrock.and said sho had boen agonizing with rhoumntism. IUiounia-tlsm Is a handy thing. A doctor can't Bwoar that a patient hasn't got It I accused tho woman of having boen on a morphlno sprco. Sho denied It. I appealed to hor husband. He searched her buroau and chiffonier nnd found 200 mornhine pills. Sho had bought thorn all at one tlmo. but wouldn't toll who sold them to hor. " Of course there's a law against selling morphine except on a prescription; butnmorphlno fiend can always got It it ho Is persistent, and generally ho Is so. Any physician can tell a habitual morphlno taker at a glance. So can a druggist. The latter reads tho unmistakable signs In a man's face, and if he hasn't a conscience will soil tho morphino victim what no wants. Tho druggist knows that the purchaser will guard the secret quite as closely as he could. But If a porson with no symptoms of tho morphlno habit wants to buy the drug ho will probably havo great difficulty in getting it. No pharmacist, ovon if not particularly reputable, wants to take the chnnces ot being huuled up-for n breach of the law. "1 am constantly running across cases of tho morphine habit, especially, as I said, among women. Tho llfo thoy lead when active socially uses up their nerves, and they take morphine for neuralgia, until they can t get along without it. Usually thoy arc ashamed ot the habit and conceal It carefully; but sometimes thoy are quite open about it, take their morphine regularly and will not listen to reason. Not n month ago a beautiful roung woman showed mo n new chatelalno ornament sho had just bought. Ic was a remarkably handsome gold case, studdod with jewels, and looked llko a vinaigrette. Tho top opened, and insldt) wero a tiny hypodermic syriugo and tube ot morphino. I said something more forcible than polite and tried to make her soo the Insanity of the thing: but sho only laughod and told mo sho carried morphlno pills in her ehatolaiuobonbonnlero, so that she would bo all right if sho happened to bo where she couldn't use tho hypodermic, which she preferred. I threatened to tell hor husband, but she said he knowabout it and didn't care, alio didn't bother him and he didn't bother her. I wont to tho husband nnd ho merely shruuged his shoulders and said ho never Interfered with his wife. Then I relieved my mind again and told him what I thought of him and nowthoro Is ono family loss on my list ot patients. "That was an exceptional case. I admit. Usually relatives and friends ot a porson who takes mornhino do everything possible to break up tho habit ; but n morphino fiend is remarkablo for cleverness. A great many women who don't want any ono to know that they have tho habit work tho physicians for morphine. I know women of good family who nevergo moro than two weeks without torrlblo attacks of neuralgia or rheumatism or something elsn that causes oxcruclating agony. The doctor Is called In nnd trios to rollevo the. woman; but nothing relieves hor until ho tries morphlno. If hols clever enough to seo through tho thing nnd too conscientious to help out the little farco ho glvos up the case. Another doctor Is called In. and another, until one proscribes what is wanted. That's an old. old game. Sfnny a struggling young doctor has thought his fortune mado becnuso a wealthy woman in his neighborhood called him In: but when sho Is seriously 111 she goes back to her old doctor. Hhe only wants the new ono to prescribe morphine for hor ncurolgiii. "There's no excuse. In tho world, torn doctor acquiring the morphlno habit. Ho knows bettor. Yet som of tho doctors do it. Ono famous old New York doctor used to take his morphlno as regularly as ho took his breakfast: and, whenever he gave a hypodermic injection to a patient he took ono himself whllo ho had the syringo out. just for sooiablllty. I suppose. He never went to pieces under It. but I presume ho would have done so In time. " No one but a physician enn realize how this special vice is Increasing, nnd how sorions a problom It presents. As n class tho medical profession takoH n strong stand against It. but 1 confess I'm feeling rather discouraged. The person who takes a doso of morphlno for anything within the limits oi endurance is a fool but the world Is full of fools." Is J to " at to to Is

Clipped from
  1. The Sun,
  2. 05 Mar 1899, Sun,
  3. Page 26

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  • "The amount of morphine used by women in New York is increasing" — Account of one doctor regarding opioid epidemic among New York women in 1899

    staff_reporter – 23 Apr 2018

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