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Regulations and Restrictions regarding Morphia, -Morphine, and other Derivatives and Compounds of Opium in Great Britain and its Possessions, etc. PDF Print E-mail
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Reports - Report of the International Opium Commission


Like opium, the import and export of morphia is not subject to any restrictions tinder Customs law or departmental regulations; but the Pharmacy Act, 1868 provides that on exportation by wholesale dealers it must be labelled "Poison."

The same Act makes it unlawful to sell morphia, either by wholesale or retail, unless the receptacle in which it is contained is distinctly labelled with the name Morphia and the word Poison and to sell morphia to any person unknown to the seller unless introduced by some person known to the seller, and on every sale of morphia it is incumbent on the seller, before delivery, to make or cause to be made an entry in a book to be kept for that purpose giving date of sale, name and address of purchaser, the name Morphia and the quantity sold, and the purpose for which it is stated by the purchaser to be required, to which entry the signature of the purchaser and of the person, if any, who introduced him must be affixed. The penalty for infringement of this provision of the Act is a fine not exceeding L5 for the first offence and LI° for a second or subsequent offence; but the provision of the Act which requires that the label shall contain the name and address of the seller does not apply to exports by wholesale dealers nor to sales by wholesale to retail dealers in the ordinary course of wholesale dealing nor does any provision of the Act apply to any medicine supplied to a legally qualified apothecary to his patient nor to morphia when forming part of the ingredients of any medicine dispensed by a person registered under the Act provided such medicine is labelled with the name and address of the seller and the ingredients and name of the person is entered in the book provided for the purpose.
Adulteration is provided against by " The Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875."


On the 23rd of September 1893 an Ordinance (The Aloi pliine Ordinance, 1893) was enacted by the Governor of Hongkong for the suppression of the practice of injecting preparations of morphine by unqualified persons. It provides that any person, who shall administer morphine by injection to any other person, except in cases where the sarne has been prescribed by some duly qualified medical practitioner, shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable in each case to a fine not exceeding $5o or to imprisonment with or 1,vithout hard labour not exceeding two months, and that any person, who shall, except in cases where morphine has been prescribed by some duly qualified medical practitioner, furnish morphine to any person, except to a duly qualified mediçal practitioner or to a chemist or druggist shall, on conviction before a Magistrate be liable to a like penalty. This is not applicable to morphine furnished for bond fide exportation. Copy of Ordinance annexed.

On the 28th of September 19°4 an Ordinance was enacted making it lawful for the Governor-in-Council to grant licenses to suitable persons to import, prepare, manufacture or deal in compounds of opium and directing the opium farmer, to whom fixed licence fees and certain fixed royalties on imported compounds of opium for sale or use within the Colony were made payable under the Ordinance, to establish a bonded warehouse or warehouses for the use of dealers in compounds of opium imported for exportation from the Colony, and an order was published in the Government Gazette of the 3rd March 1905 exempting certain narned medicines from the provisions of the Ordinance. This Ordinance was repealed by the Prepared Opium Amendment Ordinance, 1906, which took its place, and, in addition to compounds of opium, embraced morphine (including morphia and all salts of morphine and any solution or preparation containing morphine).

The 1906 Ordinance provided for the issue of licences at $25 each (to be awarded to the opium farmer) to persons importing for sale or use within the Colony, preparing, manufacturing or dealing in morphine and compounds of opium, and made it binding on importers whether for exportation from or for sale or use within the Colony to declare the amounts of their imports before the superintendent of imports and exports. It also fixed royalties payable to the opium farmer of $30 per tael weight of morphine and $3 per tael of opium imported for sale or use within the Colony, and it provides for bonded warehouses for the compulsory storage of morphine and compounds of opium intended for exportation from the Colony. Under the Prepared Opium Ordinance 1891, as amended by the Prepared Opium Amendment Ordinance 1906, an Order by the Governor-in-Council exempting named foreign medicines from the provisions of these Ordinances appeared in the Government Gazette of the 5th April 19°7. Regulations for these bonded warehouses were published in the Government Gazette of the 8th November 19°6, and amended Regulations were gazetted on the r8th January 1907.

On the 26th of June 1908, an Ordinance ("The Pharmacy Ordinance i9o8") was enacted by the Governor-in-Council to provide for the registration of chemists and druggists and to regulate the sale of poisons. It is based on the Pharmacy Act of 1868. Nothing in this Ordinance affects the provisions of the Prepared Opium Ordinance 1891, the Morphine Ordinance 1893, and the Prepared Opium Amendment Ordinance 1906. The schedule of poisons annexed to the Ordinance contains "Preparations of Morphine." Various Regulations made under this Ordinance regarding applicants for registration under the Ordinance, the keeping, dispensing, and selling of poisons, issue of licences to wholesale dealers, and penalties for violation of the Regulations were published in the Government Gazette of the 2Ist August 1908.

Copies of all these Ordinances, Regulations, etc., are appended.

No returns of the import of morphine and compounds of opium were kept prior to 19°6. The annexed table shows the quantities imported and exported since a record has existed.



In the Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States the importation, sale, and consumption of morphine, cocaine and any other drug declared by the Governor-in-Council to be deleterious are dealt with by the Deleterious Drug-s Ordinance passed in 1907. A copy of the Straits Settlements Ordinance is attached. The use of these drugs is strictly limited to cases in which it is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner ; importation without the authority of the Principal civil medical officer is illegal as is also the possession of more than twelve doses by any person except a licensed medical practitioner or a licensed chemist and druggist.


The Poisons Ordinance, 19m regulates the sale of opium and its various preparations; but the Committee appointed to enquire into and report upon the importation, sale, and consumption of opium recommended that "opium and its preparations" should be transferred from the list under Regulation Section 9, Part II. to the list under Part I. of the Ordinance, thus making it obligatory that the purchaser is known to, or is introduced by, some person known to the seller, and that an entry is made of every sale and the purpose for which the drug is required. Again, in the Opium Ordinance, 1899 the word "Opium" is defined to "include any preparation in which opium forms a component part," so that morphia or morphine can be dealt with under the Ordinance.