Morphling is a powerful painkiller used in the treatment of severe injuries and illnesses. It is apparently quite expensive, and normally available only to those with connections to the Capitol or District 13. It is similar to the real-life opiate analgesic morphine and can be delivered through an injection, IV, or tablets. It is possible that 'morphling' may be a corruption of the original name. Morphling can be addictive and a constant use may lead to side effects that heavily affect the user's appearance, such as yellowish skin and wide eyes. Addicts, like the District 6 victors that participated in the 75th Hunger Games are referred to as "morphlings", due to becoming addicted after winning their games many years ago. The drug is thought to cause hallucinations.
Morphling first appeared when vials from Mrs. Undersee's supply were delivered at her request by her daughter Madge to Mrs. Everdeen to help treat Gale Hawthorne, who had been severely whipped by Romulus Thread.
In District 13, when Peeta would get angry, the doctors used morphling to sedate him.
Johanna Mason developed a minor addiction to morphling when she was hospitalized in District 13 for the torture she had received in the Capitol. She began to experience withdrawal when her supply was cut and started to tap into Katniss Everdeen's IV. However, she was so determined to directly participate in the rebellion on the front lines that she put up with the symptoms to continue her training.
Following Katniss's imprisonment for the murder of President Alma Coin, she considered overdosing on morphling tablets to commit suicide, but when she began to sing and found it hard to stop, she decided not to follow through. She also developed an addiction to the drug but was weaned off it.
- Catching Fire, Chapter 8