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Opium is at once one of the oldest and most useful of drugs, as well as one of the most potent agencies for harm. Its well-known capacity for relieving pain of almost every variety and grade of severity has resulted in its almost unrestricted use where the relief of pain is a prominent indication in the treatment of disease. Its property of relaxing both voluntary and involuntary muscular fibres, as well as the relief from pain, has resulted in its employment very largely in threatened premature deliveries.
But there are at times contra-indications to its use and limitations in its utility, especially its remote effects. These we too frequently lose sight of or disregard. Authorities lay great stress upon care in the administration of opium to very young children, but where can be found anything in regard to its effects on the unborn child when administered to the mother?
RUTH CE. THE EFFECT OF OPIUM ON THE UNBORN CHILD.. JAMA. 1888;X(10):293–294. doi:10.1001/jama.1888.02400360009001b