Understanding Morphine

Morphine is an opiate used to relieve pain. Morphine provides a feeling of euphoria often described as a dreamlike state. The drug can be taken in the form of a tablet, syrup, or injection. In some cases, morphine can even be smoked.

Morphine has the potential to be highly addictive, as tolerance to it develops rapidly. A federally designated Schedule II drug, morphine is used to treat moderate, severe, and chronic pain. It is also used for pain relief after major surgeries, treatment for cancer-related pain, and shortness of breath at the end of a patient’s life.

However, morphine also has a high potential for abuse because of its pleasurable effects and relative accessibility. In recent years, morphine pills have added abuse deterrent coding so that they cannot be crushed, snorted, or injected. While this has reduced the addictive potential of prescribed morphine, it has not eliminated the risk nor impacted illicitly manufactured morphine.

Some of the common street or slang names for morphine include miss emma, monkey, roxanol, and white stuff. Morphine is a naturally occurring substance extracted from either the opium poppy plant or from concentrated poppy straw. Its chemical makeup is similar to heroin, as they are both extracted from the same plant. Contact a treatment provider for help battling a morphine addiction.

Morphine Effects And Abuse

As a narcotic drug, morphine is often abused for its pleasurable effects. Those suffering from chronic pain have the potential to misuse their medication, which increases their likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.

Common effects of morphine include:

  • Euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Reduced anxiety
  • False or unusual sense of well-being
  • Relaxed or calm feeling

Any time someone uses morphine without a prescription, it is considered abuse. Although it is a legal substance when prescribed, it is a heavily regulated one. Possession of morphine without a prescription is a criminal offense, the degree of which varies based on the jurisdiction and the amount of the drug in possession.

Those who abuse morphine in high doses put themselves at risk of overdosing. Signs of a morphine overdose include slurred speech, inattention, intense drowsiness, fever, elevated blood pressure, increased thirst, lower back or side pain, decreased responsiveness, extreme sleepiness, swelling of the face and extremities, lack of movement, slowed breathing, muscle cramps, spasms, pain, and stiffness. This is because morphine depresses the central nervous system (CNS). Overdosing on morphine can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or slowed breathing to the point of death.

Addiction To Morphine

Addiction to morphine develops for a number of reasons and is often the consequence of consistent abuse. An addiction typically begins with a tolerance — needing larger doses of morphine to feel its effects. Once a tolerance develops, users will experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take morphine, making it hard to quit. In many cases, the psychological dependence on morphine develops soon after the physical one.

Someone addicted to morphine will compulsively look for and and abuse it, ignoring the negative consequences.

Morphine addiction is similar to heroin addiction and is a very difficult addiction to overcome. Sudden withdrawal from morphine can be extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant; therefore, a medically managed detoxification is the best way to rid the body of the substance. Contact a treatment provider to discuss available treatment options.

Morphine And Other Drugs

Because morphine is a CNS depressant, it is very dangerous to combine with other CNS depressants. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are two commonly abused CNS depressants that can result in extreme sedation, respiratory failure, or even coma when used with morphine.

Morphine Abuse Statistics

More than half of accidental drug deaths in the US were caused by heroin and morphine. Some other statistics include:



10% of the US population has abused an opiate drug in their lifetime.



The number of morphine users admitted to the emergency room increased by 106% between the years of 2004 and 2008.



More than 60% of morphine users admitted to getting the drug from friends or relatives.

Morphine Addiction Treatment

If you’re one of the many people addicted to morphine, you’re not alone — and researchers nationwide are finding more effective ways to help people overcome addiction.

Current treatments for morphine addiction include therapy, support groups and medications to manage withdrawal symptoms. A comprehensive approach to treatment can greatly improve chances of making a full recovery.

Inpatient Rehabilitation For Morphine Addiction

To date, the most effective form of treatment for a morphine addiction is an inpatient program, usually lasting around 90 days. One of the potential benefits of inpatient rehab is that it typically starts with a safe, medically supervised detox. Inpatient programs allow a recovering addict to focus on treatment without the social and professional pressures of the world outside.

Ongoing Recovery From Morphine

Overcoming an addiction to morphine is a lifelong process; while detox may take as little as a few weeks, the commitment to staying clean lasts a lifetime. Many recovering addicts have found great help and accountability through ongoing support groups and individual counseling to stay on a morphine-free path. Staying clean requires lifestyle changes to prevent relapse, which may include cutting negative influences out of close social circles. It is important to build relationships with people who support a clean lifestyle.

Overcoming Morphine Addiction

Morphine addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but kicking the habit is far from impossible. Studies have shown that people who are able to make life changes dramatically increase their chances of recovery without relapse. Help is available. Contact a treatment provider to discuss treatment options.

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