Chapter 13- Morphine, Nicotin, and Caffeine

What are Morphine, Nicotine, and Caffeine?

Morphine, nicotine, and caffeine are all opiate drugs. Opiate3 drugs are known for their pain relieving properties and for causing a dream like state. Morphine is used as a pain medicine, nicotine is mainly found in cigarettes, and caffeine is found mainly in drinks such as coffee and tea. These are all very addictive drugs that have changed the course of history.

Key History and Chemistry

The drug opium contains 24 different alkaloids with the most abundant being morphine. Morphine was named after Morpheus, the Roman god of dreams. It is a narcotic which makes you sleep.Morphine is still the best pain killer today and is used in many surgeries. The problem with morphine is it can be very addictive. The Bayer Asprin Company tried to create a drug with with side effects that weren’t as bad. The Hs in the OH were replaced with CH3CO to create Diacetlymorphine, known as heroin. The effects of heroin were quickly noticed and it stopped being advertised. Today the manufacture, use, and distribution of heroin are illegal.

Tobacco was unknown in Europe before Christopher Columbus came to the new world. Columbus said when he arrived he saw people drinking smoke. Tobacco wasn’t accepted immediately though. King James I banned tobacco and tobacco had been banned in churches. There are 10 alkaloids in tobacco with the main one being nicotine. In small doses nicotine is a stimulant but with larger doses it becomes a depressant. In even larger doses it can be a lethal poison. It depends on how it is taken also. Nicotine is a thousand times more potent when absorbed through the skin than when taken orally. Nicotine is also a natural insecticide. 

Caffeine is the least regulated of these opiates. It is a powerful central nervous stimulant. It works by blocking the effects of adenosine. Adenosine helps to slow down the nervous system. Caffeine can be toxic but the lethal dosage is 10 grams while the average cup of coffee has between 80-180 milligrams. That means you would have to drink an unimaginable amount at one time to die. Taxes on tea have also been very prominent throughout history.It happened in the American Revolution which caused the Boston Tea Party.

 Personal Opinion

Many people use at least one of these every day. Coffee is drank by millions of Americans every day and is very popular. There are even stores that are just made for coffee. Morphine is used in almost any surgery a person can have. The tobacco industry is currently booming. These opiates are becoming more and more popular and advertised. 

Author’s Argument 

The author made some very good and valid points in this chapter. The historical and chemical information was very interesting. It discussed the opium wars which were over these 3 drugs. It also discussed how these drugs are used today and their pros and cons. They discussed how these drugs can be highly addictive and dangerous.They also related it back to some earlier chapters. They discussed phenol from chapter 7 and some of the drugs from chapter 12, molecules of witchcraft.

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