Morphine is an opiate naturally derived from the opium poppy plant, and while it is 1.5 – 2 times weaker than heroin, it has identical effects and is extremely addictive. Brand names for prescription morphine are MS Contin and Oramorph, with morphine sulfate as the active ingredient in both. Like all other narcotic painkillers, morphine produces an analgesic effect that is accompanied by an intense euphoria.
Morphine Abuse and Addiction
Morphine is a narcotic opiate, and listed as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which means morphine has a high potential for abuse and is considered to be dangerous.
Individuals who use morphine may do so for medical or recreational purposes. When morphine is abused, the effects of its euphoric high often result in addiction, especially once drug seeking behavior has begun.
What is Drug Seeking Behavior?
When an individual is using morphine specifically for the high he or she gets from it, drug seeking behavior is often a part of his or her everyday life. This can include a number of behaviors and actions taken by an individual for the purpose of getting morphine to abuse, and can be applied to those using morphine recreationally and medically:
- Using more morphine than medically indicated
- Skipping doses to “double up” on the next dose
- Taking drastic and/or dangerous measures to get more morphine
- Doctor shopping in an attempt to obtain morphine from multiple prescriptions
- Frequent visits to various emergency rooms in an attempt to obtain morphine from ER doctors
- Taking morphine from family and associates, either with or without their knowledge and permission
- Administering morphine in inappropriate ways, (i.e. crushing and snorting or injecting the drug)
Drug seeking behavior is often illegal and dangerous, but it is very common among those who are chronically abusing morphine, whether it is obtained through illegal or medical means.
Dangers of Morphine Addiction
Morphine has several effects on users, that are similar to those of other painkillers, and include:
- Shallow breathing
- Intense euphoria
- Lowered heart rate
- Weakness and/or dizziness
These effects of morphine can be mild to severe, depending on the amount taken and an individual’s tolerance to the drug. When morphine is being abused, or misused, these effects can be drastically enhanced, and lead to dangerous and life-threatening complications. Some of the more severe effects of morphine, when misused or taken in excessive quantities can include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Convulsions and/or seizures
- Respiratory depression or failure
- Intermittent states of awake and sleep (nodding off)
- Slurred speech
- Droopy eyelids
Often, these aforementioned effects are indicators of an individual who has taken morphine in excess, usually as a result of abuse and misuse of the drug. Morphine is a commonly abused prescription painkiller, and for those who abuse this drug, there are a variety of ways in which morphine can be obtained, all with varying degrees of illegality and risk.
How Morphine Abusers get the Drug
Obtaining a controlled substance like morphine is much easier to do than many people may think. Especially in America, where citizens consume 80% of the world supply of painkillers, morphine is widely prescribed and available to those who seek to abuse it.
Some of the most common ways in which those who abuse morphine non-medically get the drug are as follows:
- Pill Mills
Pill mills are branded as pain clinics in which licensed doctors and physicians write prescriptions for controlled substances like morphine without medical examinations or justification, in exchange for money.
- Online Pharmacies
Based overseas, online pharmacies are a quick and easy way to access morphine and other dangerous prescription drugs with no more than a mailing address and credit card to complete the purchase.
- Friends and Family
Many of those who abuse morphine without legitimate prescriptions of their own obtain the drug from friends and family, either with or without their knowledge. The transfer of controlled prescription drugs to anyone other than the patient to whom they are prescribed is a serious, prosecutable crime.
- Street Dealers
With the new burgeoning epidemic of prescription drug abuse and addiction, dealers are finding more profits in the illicit sale of morphine and other painkillers than any illegal drug (i.e. heroin, cocaine, crack, and meth). Street dealers are a fast and anonymous way in which many morphine addicts obtain the drug.
Family Consequences of Morphine Addiction
When morphine addiction takes over the lives of individuals, it is not just the addict who suffers from the effects. The loved ones of morphine addicts can be placed in dangerous and compromising situations, most of which are direct results of enabling, despite the dangers. Enabling an addict means doing things that make it easier for them to continue the addiction, such as:
- financial assistance to the addict, which often results in financial hardship for the loved one
- a home for addicts, which can place loved ones in compromising situations with dangerous paraphernalia, associates, and illegal activity in and around their home.
- cell phones, vehicles, and/or money for bills to maintain an addict’s lifestyle
- rides to and from various places while a morphine addict continues to abuse the drug
- bail money to get an addict out of jail for drug-related arrests
While many loved ones of addicts may try to help in whatever way they can, addiction gets worse with each passing day that it is not treated. The only way to truly help someone who is struggling with an addiction to morphine, or any other drug, is to get him or her into a drug rehabilitation program.
Morphine Detox and Addiction Rehabilitation
No matter how morphine addiction happens, there is help available in the form of detoxification and drug rehab. Because morphine produces both a psychological and physical dependence, withdrawal from it can produce moderate to severe symptoms that may require medical detox. Morphine withdrawal is not life-threatening, but it can produce such symptoms as:
- High fever
- Cold sweats
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Severe cravings
Because these symptoms can be severe, it is recommended that detox from morphine be completed in a supervised environment for a few important reasons:
- Avoidance of medical complications. While morphine detox is not life-threatening, medical complications can be dangerous, depending on the individual and his or her health.
- Maintenance of a safe and drug-free environment to eliminate the opportunity for a morphine addict to go back to using.
- Ability to provide medications to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms, increase comfort, and facilitate sleep during a morphine detoxification.
Morphine detox can take anywhere from 5-14 days, depending on the individual, and the length and severity of his or her addiction
After morphine detox, it is highly recommended that addicts enter a drug addiction treatment center in order to gain the tools, knowledge, and skills necessary for sobriety and sustained recovery. The process of morphine detox alone does nothing to address the underlying causes of addiction or prevent relapse in the future. An overwhelming percentage of individuals who become addicts have underlying issues and/or trauma that has contributed to addiction. Without the acknowledgement and processing of these issues, the chances for relapse after detox are significantly increased.
Internal issues and struggles are often the source of deep unrest and pain. Without reconciliation, these issues often contribute to relapse for recovering addicts. While it may not be identified at the time, unresolved issues can turn an otherwise mild situation into a dramatic return to drugs, and this is why it is critical for addicts to acknowledge and address their issues in a drug rehabilitation program where they can learn to cope and survive without the use of drugs.
- Group Therapy – Facilitates fellowship and support among addicts, so they can relate to, and learn from each other’s struggles and experiences.
- Individualized Healing Methods – Ranging from acupuncture to equine assisted therapy, many addiction treatment programs offer numerous therapy methods through which addicts can have a unique approach to healing in a way that speaks most directly to each individual.
- Aftercare Programs – Started before addicts leave treatment, aftercare programs are set up to develop a plan for recovering addicts once treatment has ended. This development typically includes things like:
- Place of residence
- Continuation of individual therapy
- Involvement in support groups
- Continuation of healthy and recovery-minded activities and practices
- Establishing emergency support and contacts in case of trouble during early recovery
Get Help for Morphine Addiction
If you, or someone you love is addicted to morphine, and in need of detox and addiction treatment, please call us now to speak with a trained counselor about the needs, preferences, and spiritual belief system of whomever is in need of help. We will work with you to find the most effective form of treatment that provides an individualized approach to ensure the greatest chances of sustained recovery from morphine addiction. It is a well-known fact that individuals respond better to approaches with which they can personally relate, and it is our mission to help you find that approach for yourself or your addicted loved one. Since addiction is progressive, there is no time to lose in finding the best path to recovery. We will help you to understand exactly what addiction treatment is, and how can it best work for you or your loved one, so you have realistic expectations, and never waste time with programs offering no more than an empty promise. Addiction treatment does work, it is only a matter of discovering what kind of treatment works best for you.
Please don’t wait for addiction to get any worse, and potentially claim another life. Please call us now and let us help you to find personal recovery, and reclaim a life of happiness and health in sobriety.