Abstract The effects of opiates in various infections are well known; however, very little is known about tuberculosis infection. Therefore, in the present study, we report for the first time, the effects of morphine during murine tuberculosis. Mice were infected intravenously with Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, administered morphine (0.1–100 mg/kg subcutaneously on day 0 and day +15) and sacrificed on day +30 for CFU enumeration in lungs and spleen. Morphine exerted maximum suppression of infection at 5 mg/kg, and sometimes completes elimination of infection; naloxone, silica and aminoguanidine blocked the protective effect of morphine. In vitro, morphine lacked direct antimycobacterial activity up to 1 × 10 − 4 M concentration, as assessed by radiometric BACTEC method. In macrophage model of infection, morphine showed maximal killing at 1 × 10 − 7 M concentration, the activity was blocked by naloxone and aminoguanidine. These observations suggest that morphine exerts a dose-dependent effect in murine tuberculosis, the protective effect being naloxone-reversible and may involve macrophage-mediated protective mechanisms. These results may be helpful in developing new opioid-like chemical entities against tuberculosis infection.