Morphine - Drug Addiction

Morphine is a painkiller, usually for chronic or severe pain as a result of a terminal illness but it is a highly addictive drug which can lead to dependency.

What is morphine?

This is a member of the opiates family and along with codeine, occurs naturally in opium - a sticky substance which is collected from poppies.

This drug along with other opiates was designed to relieve pain but it causes a feeling of euphoria in many people which has result in substance abuse.

It affects both the mind and body and is as addictive as heroin or other opiates.

What does it look like?

Morphine comes in a variety of forms such as capsules, tablets, syrups or liquids.

How is morphine used?

It can be taken orally or injected either under the skin or into the muscle.

What is it street name?

Morphine is known by any of the following:

  • Miss Emma
  • Big M
  • Cube
  • Red Cross
  • Mojo
  • Morph

Who uses morphine?

Morphine has a medical application in that it is designed to relieve severe or chronic pain caused by a terminal illness, e.g. cancer. For this reason it is safe to prescribe.

But there are people who are prescribed drugs such as morphine for a specific medical condition who enjoy the relaxed ‘high’ that they get which then leads to tolerance and finally, addiction.

People who work in healthcare are also at risk of morphine addiction, often as a result of the highly stressful nature of their job.

What are the effects of morphine?

Your reaction to morphine will depend upon your age, the amount you have taken and how; whether you have taken other substances and your mood at that time.

Everyone reacts differently to a substance but there are effects which are general to every user. These include the cessation of pain, mild euphoria, sleepiness, lack of concentration and a feeling of relaxation. In some cases people will experience nausea, vomiting and sweating.

A higher dose will result in more intense effects.

If morphine is injected then the effects will occur almost straight away. But if taken as a tablet then they will take longer to occur and usually last for up to 20 minutes.

Is it easy to become addicted to morphine?

Yes it is.

If morphine is prescribed for medical reasons then careful monitoring will reduce the risk of tolerance and addiction.

But there are people who find that they enjoy taking morphine because of its effects which leads to a tolerance. They increase the dose to achieve the same effects and find that they experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it.

Morphine along with other opiates is a highly addictive substance which results in a rapid tolerance and an equally rapid form of dependency. It affects both the mind and the body and is very difficult to give up.

This is as powerful as a heroin addiction: when you think how hard it is to give that up you then realise the extent of the grip morphine has on a person both physically and psychologically.

The withdrawal symptoms include: nausea, the shakes, muscle spasms, stomach pains, sweating, insomnia, loss of appetite and restlessness. Psychological effects include weepiness, anxiety and depression.

What are the risks of morphine?

In severe cases it raises heart rate and blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Paranoia, anxiety, depression and a lack of confidence can be seen in cases of severe addiction.

Morphine is not usually life threatening but it is so addictive that it has one of the highest rates of relapse for all forms of drug addiction.


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