Opiate abuse during pregnancy may result in abnormal nervous system function. In order to evaluate the effects of morphine on the development of the nervous system, the present study focused on the effects of maternal morphine consumption on neural tube development in Wistar rats. Female Wistar rats (250-300 g) were crossed with male rats and coupling time was recorded (embryonic day 0-E0). Experimental groups received 0.1, 0.05, and 0.01 mg/ml of morphine in drinking water daily (14 ml water for each rat). Control group received tap water. On embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5), the animals were anesthetized and the embryos were surgically removed. The embryos were fixed in 10% formalin for 1 week. After this time, weights and lengths (antero-posterior axis--A-P) of the embryos were determined and then tissues were processed, sectioned, and stained in hematoxylin and eosin (H&E). The sections were investigated for neural tube development by light microscope and MOTIC software. The decrease in "A-P" length and embryonic weight for the group that received 0.01 mg/ml morphine was significant. It seems that daily consumption of morphine sulfate could delay neural tube development. In addition, administration of 0.01 mg/ml of morphine led to damage to the regulated neuro-ectoderm layer and its thickness. This study showed that oral morphine consumption leads to neural tube defects, as indicated in the morphometric change and also reduction in weight and length of the embryos. These defects might affect the behavior of the animals.