There are certain facts concerning opium or cocaine and their derivatives that should be borne in mind. First, they are valuable therapeutic agents; to banish them from our materia medica is to work an unjustifiable hardship on suffering humanity. Second, the habitual use of them is a real menace to the welfare of society, which should be combated with every weapon available. Third, the injudicious use of these substances as remedial agents has in many instances resulted in the formation of a habit. With a knowledge of these facts the conscientious physician will not hesitate to use them when necessity demands but, on the other hand, will try to avoid their employment whenever possible by the application of less dangerous measures.
Opium is a complex substance, containing some twenty alkaloids, only four of which, however, are of practical importance; namely, morphine, codeine, narcotine and papaverine. While the general effect
WOOD HC. THE INDISPENSABLE USES OF NARCOTICSTHE THERAPEUTIC USES OF NARCOTIC DRUGS. JAMA. 1931;96(14):1140–1144. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.27220400003012
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