Jon Helander, Ph.D., Altum Research
Opium has been used for thousands of years, and extracts concentrated in morphine have been written about since the 1500’s. It was not until the early 1800’s when the morphine extract was isolated in high purity by Friedrich Sertürner, who immediately demonstrated the danger associated with opiates when used in high concentration. Sertürner injected four people, three boys and himself, all of which nearly died (Dahan, Aarts, and Smith 2010). Still, Sertürner was the first to market morphine, and ironically, did so for treatment of alcohol addiction. Today, opioids are typically prescribed in hospital care and are synthetic or semi-synthetic derivatives of morphine including heroin, and account for a significant percentage of addictions worldwide.
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Physicians from the lowest ranked schools hand out three times the pills
Economists digging into the data behind America’s opioid addiction have uncovered a key trend in prescribing practices: doctors who went to top-ranked schools are dramatically less likely to hand out the pills.