SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 30 (1):114-136; 10.1093/shm/hkw065 FEB 2017
This article examines doctors' role in the spread of morphine addiction, or morphinomanie, in late nineteenth-century France and the impact of morphine's use and abuse on medical professionalisation. Although in the 1860s and 1870s doctors had treated morphine as a sort of analgesic panacea, by the early 1880s they began to recognise morphine addiction as a serious social crisis. In a competitive medical marketplace, individual doctors used morphine's analgesic power to enhance their own credibility in the eyes of their patients. However, this same substance also threatened the legitimacy of the medical profession, as doctors and patients alike succumbed to the new iatrogenic pathology of morphinomanie.