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Morphine Abuse and Addiction

Morphine Abuse and Addiction

Morphine is an opiate drug used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Its commercial production started in 19th century and ever since, it has been used on a wide scale for therapeutic and recreational purposes. Initially, it was introduced as a pain reliever and a substitute to opium addiction but later it turned out that morphine is more addictive than opium itself. With the passing years, morphine has become one of the most widely abused prescription medications. It is classified as schedule II substance which means its pain relieving action is used for medicinal purposes but it has a high potential for abuse and development of addiction.

What is morphine?

Morphine is an opiate drug extracted from ‘opium poppy’ plant. The word ‘morphine’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Morpheus’ which is the name of Greek god of dreams. It is called morphine due to the relaxing, pain reliving and sleep inducing effects produced by it. Also, when consumed in high doses, it produces feelings of euphoria that are often described as a dream like state by the users. Morphine can be highly addictive when abused. It is only prescribed by the doctor to relieve pain after a major surgery or operation.

Morphine is a very potent pain killer which works by blocking the transmission of pain signals between the body and brain. It also produces calming effects by slowing down blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate.  Because of relaxing and euphoric effects produced by it, it is highly addictive.

Physically, morphine appears to be a crystalline compound that can take various forms depending upon the purpose it is being used for. For medicinal purposes, morphine is usually administrated in two forms:

  • Oral administration in the form of morphine sulphate tablets
  • Injecting morphine solution directly into blood stream

Morphine is a given a number of different brand names and slang terms. Some common brand names under which morphine is sold include:

  • Roxanol
  • Kadian ER
  • Morphine Sulphate ER
  • MS Contin
  • Kapanol
  • Morphabond
  • Oramorph SR

Some of the common street names given to morphine are:

  • Monkey
  • Dreamer
  • White Stuff
  • Aunti Em
  • Aunti
  • Morph
  • Drone
  • TNT
  • Tango and Cash
  • Dance Fever
  • Murder 8
  • Goodfella

These names are commonly used by the recreational users to refer to the drug in an attempt to conceal the usage.

How is morphine consumed?

Morphine is usually available in the form of tablets, syrup or injectable solution. For medicinal purpose, it is either orally ingested or directly injected into the bloodstream. However, people who take it for recreational purposes also tend to snort it. Taking it in improper doses and methods can be highly dangerous. Not only there is a high potential for the development of addiction but also there is a great risk for an overdose.

Dosage amounts for morphine:

There are proper dosage amounts prescribed by the physician for morphine before its use. The dose may vary from one patient to the other depending upon their condition and needs. In most cases, the initial dose ranges between 15 to 30 mgs that is repeated after a few hours depending upon the pain management needs of the patient.

It is important to thoroughly monitor the condition of the patient throughout since morphine can be a fatal drug if given beyond safe levels. Also, the high addictive potential of the drug demands to be careful while administrating the drug. The condition of the patient should be monitored throughout.

Why is morphine addictive?

Morphine is a highly addictive drug when used for prolonged periods of time. Even therapeutic use of the drug has been known to cause physical and psychological dependence. Just like other opiates, morphine activates a wide number of opiate receptors located throughout the body and brain. Two most common effects produced by morphine are pain relief and pleasure. It also stimulates the production of high amounts of ‘happy chemical’ dopamine that causes the production of intense feelings of euphoria and happiness followed by a state of contentment or relaxation that lasts for hours. This excessive relapse of dopamine and the activation of reward system can lead to addiction. The brain of the user becomes used to function in high amounts of dopamine and when they are not supplied, it fails to function normally resulting into the appearance of a number of withdrawal symptoms.

Morphine abuse and addiction statistics:

According to the statistics revealed by Global Addiction Network About Drugs (GINAD), more than half of the accidental deaths in recent years are caused by morphine and heroin abuse. This is quite an alarming situation that needs to be addressed. United States faces a loss of millions every year due to morphine addiction.

  • About 10% of American population has admitted abusing morphine at some point in their life time.
  • Between the years 2004 and 2008, the number of morphine addicts admitted to emergency rooms was increased by 106%.
  • More than 60% morphine addicts got the drug from their friends and family. A large number of morphine addicts also started taking it for medicinal purposes.

Morphine addiction is a serious problem that if left unattended, can prove to be fatal. If a loved one is struggling with morphine addiction, get them the help they need today.