This gives you a graphic sense of how morphine is regarded in other parts of the world.
Up here in Northwood, where I have my chemotherapy, the rigmarole is like this. Take last Tuesday. "I've run out of all the drugs," I told the oncologist, who duly sent the prescription down to the pharmacy. Within minutes, as I knew it would, the phone call came from the pharmacist. "About your morphine..." the pharmacist said. "Yes..." I said. "You've just had a month's prescription," she said, "we can't give you any more."
"I really haven't," I said. "Last week I had to leave in a rush to get back home and I told the nurse I would take the drugs this week instead."
"No, it says here the medicine was dispensed," the pharmacist insisted.
"It may have been dispensed, but I didn't take it home with me," I said.
I text the oncologist who says "can't you get a prescription from your GP? It might be easier if they're going to be like this. I know, they've already been on the phone to me, and I guess I was a bit short with them."
"But," I said, "they query it every time. Really, I'm not dealing morphine in North West London."
Anyhow, cut a long story short, I get back to Hendon to another phone call from the Northwood drugs regulators to say, "oh many apologies, we've just found your TTAs (pharmacist code for morphine apparently) - it seems like it was dispensed last week but you didn't actually take it home. Well, one of our staff lives near you, and can drop it in..."
Do they think we crave pain, and the painkillers that go with it?