Morphine is named after the Greek god of dreams called Morpheus.
It is an opiate that is used to primarily treat pain particularly those that are acquired after undergoing medical treatments or surgeries. It is effective in doing so because it provides a dream-like state or a feeling of euphoria. There are many ways by which the drug can be taken inside the body. It can be smoked or taken in the form of injection, syrup or tablet. The choice depends on the condition of the client.
Tolerance of the drug can develop rapidly and can result to high addiction. This happens when a person continuously uses the drug and has reached the point where he or she no longer feels the effect of the current dosage. Morphine is designated as Schedule II drug that is used for pain relief after cancer treatment or after major surgeries. On the other hand, morphine is relatively accessible and can be abused because of the drug’s pleasurable effects. The feeling of pleasure is the one major reason why there is a great number of clients that have developed an addiction to the drug.
White stuff, roxanol, monkey, Miss Emma and M are some of morphine’s slang or common street names. The opium poppy, which is a substance that occurs naturally, is where morphine is extracted from. On the other hand, heroine is a similar drug but is synthetic and is also processed from opium poppy. The two drugs have similar effects but others prefer morphine because it is a natural substance.
The Effects of Abuse of Morphine
As said earlier, morphine is a narcotic drug that has pleasurable effects. It is for this reason that the drug is often abused. Patients who experience chronic pain may have the tendency to abuse the drug. This is very possible because clients may and can easily increase the dosage of their intake whenever they experience the feeling of pain. This type of users have an increased tendency of morphine abuse.
Morphine has common effects such as:
- Pain relief
- Reduced anxiety
It can be considered as abuse when morphine is used without any prescription. This is why pharmacies must always ask for prescription whenever people are purchasing morphine. While it is legal when there is a prescription, it is among the drugs that are heavily regulated. The government has policies that push pharmacies to be strict in selling morphine. It is considered a criminal offense when a person has morphine without prescription. The degree of the offense depends on the amount of morphine in possession and the location of the person.
There is risk of overdosing when someone takes morphine in very high doses. It is crucial to know about the signs of morphine overdose. Slowed breathing, intense drowsiness, inattention and slurred speech are some of the signs of morphine overdose. These signs happen because morphine has the ability to depress the body’s central nervous system. When the system is affected already, morphine overdose can lead to slowed breathing, coma or unconsciousness, which can all lead to death. This is also one reason why the drug is heavily regulated.
When a person is consistent in abusing morphine, then it is the start of the development of morphine addiction. With this, it is important to monitor whether or not the client is already abusing the intake of the drug. When the client becomes tolerant of the powers of morphine, then it is the beginning of an addiction. When this happens, the person will then need the drug in larger amounts to successfully feel the effects. When tolerance starts to progress into addiction, the clients will experience several withdrawal symptoms whenever they are not able to take morphine. This is why they will always want more of the drug and never stop taking it. This makes it hard for them to quit. In most of the cases, psychological dependence starts to develop after the physical dependence has developed. Physical dependence can be easily treated as compared to psychological dependence, which is when the person is not able to decide for himself or herself anymore.
Similar to heroin addiction, morphine addiction is among the most difficult drug addictions to counter or overcome. There can be severe trauma if the person suddenly quits morphine use. It is therefore important to follow a detoxification that is managed medically. Instantly removing the substance out of the body is not helpful and will make it very difficult to live life for the user. With this, it is critical to follow a slow process of removing the substance from the body. Medical professionals know best how to do it.
Using Morphine with Other Drugs
The client can be under extreme danger when morphine is mixed with other drugs particularly those that have depressant qualities. It should be noted that there are many drugs that are dangerous when combined with morphine but the most dangerous is alcohol. Like morphine, alcohol is also a depressant of the central nervous system. When used at the same time, the person can suffer from sedation and coma. Combining alcohol with morphine is very dangerous to the person’s health and life.
Statistics on Morphine Abuse
In the US, morphine and heroin are the cause of more than 50% of accidental deaths due to drugs. The statistics include the fact that 10% of the American population has, in their lifetime, abused an opiate drug. From 2004 to 2008, there was a 106% increase in the number of morphine addicts that were admitted to emergency rooms. Moreover, 60% of those addicted to morphine admitted that they got the drug from their relatives or friends. These data necessitate the stricter regulation of the drug.
Overcoming Addiction to Morphine
Though among the most difficult, it is not impossible to overcome addiction to morphine. It has been shown in studies that there is increased chance of recovery without any relapse for addicts who are able to make dramatic changes in their lives.