Morphine has been around since 1803 when Civil War soldiers would develop an addiction with this painkiller. The 1970s family series Little House on the Prairie episode, Home Again, was an episode ahead of its time in showing how an opioid addiction can start and how it was handled back then.
In the two-part episode “Home Again,” teenager Albert Ingalls and his father moved to the city where Albert felt pressure to use morphine in order to fit in with a new group of people. Albert is arrested for robbing a store with his friends so that he can buy more morphine. His father decides to have the both of them go back to Walnut Grove for a visit where his sister lives. Albert is angry that he has to go back to country life as he was starting to like the city.
When Albert is in Walnut Grove, he steals morphine from the town’s doctor. After being discovered by the doctor and his father of his stealing that they also discovered his addiction to morphine. Since this episode took place in the late 1880s, there were no rehabs back then. The only person that could help Albert was his father. We see Albert suffer the withdrawal symptoms of morphine such as when he got into a fight with a boy who teased him in class and hitting his teacher. He lies to his father that he could not breathe and needed to go outside when really it was to run away to get more morphine. He was begging to his father for a little bit of morphine but his father would not allow it. We also see Albert suffering convulsions in his legs and throwing up. All his father could do was put a cold compress on his head and watch him.
By the end of the episode, Albert got better but still admitted that if there was morphine near him, he felt he would take it. After apologizing to his class before heading back to the city with his father, he tells that class about his morphine addiction and that he took morphine to feel like an adult. Albert admits he considers himself lucky and knows he could have died. This episode shows us how thankful we should be now that addiction is understood much better and how we have treatment centers with round-the-clock staff to help you.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.