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Are my antique drugs still good?
Q: I've recently acquired a small glass bottle labeled 'Morphine Sulphate', and I know it to be between 66 and 113 years old. It contains several round granules, and does not appear to have been opened for a number of decades. According to the pouch that it came in, it was manufactured by a company called Abbott Alkaloidal, the predecessor to Abbott Laboratories. Well, my question is, is there perhaps any useful amount of morphine left that has been spared the horrible fate of oxidation? Another vial in the kit contains granules which I believe contain marijuana, morphine, and nitroglycerine. Is there any possibility that any of the ingredients in this vial are still active? Thanks.

A: There is in fact a good chance that the morphine is still potent. However, before you try finding out, you should consider the value of these vials as collectors' items. Having antique pharmaceutical vials which still contain some of their original contents is something that I'd have to consider very very cool. Others would probably pay substantial sums of money for these.

If you could legally sell them, these would probably be very valuable items. Is a simple opiate high worth more to you than that? My advice would be not to even open the vials. Leave them closed (no need to let in any fresh oxygen), and put the vials in a nice display case out of direct sunlight or strong incandescent light. If you think you cant resist the temptation, perhaps find a pharmaceutical musem to try to donate or sell the vials to. You can get opiates anywhere, don't ruin a wonderful antique like this for a little buzz!

Asked By : Bilbo LaGrange
Answered By : murple
Published Date : 11 / 30 / 2001
Last Edited Date : 11 / 30 / 2001
Question ID : 2883

Categories: [ Pharmaceuticals ] [ Morphine ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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