What is Morphine?

Pronounced as [mawr-feen]

Morphine is a drug that belongs to the class of drugs known as opioids. It can be found naturally within the opium poppy plant. As a drug, however, it has undergone centuries of development and is currently the gold standard of pain relief. It is the most abundant and potent among all opioid drugs, which makes its use very popular.

What are the Generic and Brand Names for Morphine?

This drug is available in the following generic and brand names:

Morphine, AVINza, Kadian, Kadian ER, Morphabond, MS Contin, Oramorph SR, Roxanol, Roxanol-T

What are the Most Common Street Names for This Drug?

This drug is also known by the following street names:

  • Mister blue
  • Morpho
  • Dreamer
  • God’s drug

What are the Different Forms of Morphine?

This drug comes in different forms which is used to treat different types of pain. It comes as:

  • tablets (fast-acting) - these contain 10mg, 20mg or 50mg of morphine
  • tablets (slow-acting) - these contain 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 30mg, 60mg, 100mg or 200mg of the drug
  • capsules (slow-acting) - these contain 10mg, 30mg, 60mg, 90mg, 120mg, 150mg or 200mg the drug
  • granules (that you mix in water to make a drink) - these are in sachets containing 30mg, 60mg, 100mg or 200mg the drug
  • a liquid that you swallow - this contains 10mg of the drug in a 5ml spoonful or 20mg of the drug in 1ml of liquid
  • suppositories - these contain 10mg of the drug. These are used if the patient can’t swallow tablets or liquids.
  • injection (usually given in hospital)

What is Morphine Used For?

Morphine that comes as liquid, suppositories and injections, along with some tablets, are fast-acting. They are used for pain and the effects are expected to last for a short time only. On the other hand, the drug in granule form, along with some tablets and capsules, are slow-acting. This is because the drug is slowly released into your body over 12 or 24 hours. Because of this, it takes much longer for the patient to feel its effects but it lasts longer.

How does Morphine Work?

This drug works in the same way as any other opioids. They disrupt your brain’s receptors, lessening your perception of pain and floods your brain with dopamine, causing calmness and euphoria.

How Strong is Morphine?

This is a very strong pain reliever, which allows it to be used to treat severe pain. It is 0.5 to 0.25 times as potent as the illegal drug heroin. It is prescribed mostly after an operation, serious injury, or when there is severe pain due to cancer or a heart attack.

How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your System, Blood, Urine, Saliva, Hair?

If you are to undergo a drug test, you may be wondering how long this drug stays in your system.

  • Blood test: 12 hours
  • Urine test: 2-3 days
  • Saliva test: 4 days
  • Hair test: 90 Days

What are the Short-Term Effects of Morphine?

Like with any other opioid drugs, the use of this drug can cause a variety of negative effects. These include those that can also be seen from most opioid drugs. Negative effects include: breathing difficulty or short shallow breathing, muscle stiffness, feeling dizzy, tired and having low energy (this could be a sign of low blood pressure), and fits or seizures. When a patient feels some of these effects, medical help should be called immediately.

Can Morphine Trigger Allergic Reactions?

In rare cases, patients can also have a serious allergic reaction to this drug. Its signs include: getting a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin, wheezing, getting tightness in the chest or throat, having trouble breathing or talking, and swelling in your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat. Having a serious allergic reaction can be fatal.

How Does One Get Addicted To Morphine?

Addiction to this drug usually starts when a patient is prescribed with it. When used in longer periods of time, the patient may develop tolerance to the drug. This may result in them increasing the dose by themselves without consulting their doctor to get the same effects as when it was first used. When this continues, addiction and drug dependence develops. This can lead to overdose if not addressed properly by a doctor.

Because of its very high potency, a patient that has already developed addiction may take extreme measures to still be able to get the drug after their prescription runs out. One common way in which this is done is by “doctor shopping”. The patient goes to different doctors to keep getting prescriptions. This becomes much more dangerous when that patient turns to buy this drug from the streets illegally. Since this drug is very expensive when bought on the street, the patient then can turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative.

What are the Withdrawal Effects of Morphine?

When the consumption of this drug is suddenly stopped, as with any other addictive drugs, the person may experience withdrawal effects. These include: tearing of the eyes, goosebumps, runny nose, dilated pupils, excessive yawning, increased sweating, muscle aches, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, blurred vision, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat. These symptoms and the severity of their effects can vary depending on how long the drug was taken and at how high of a dose that is.

What are the Available Treatments for People that are Addicted to Morphine?

There are a number of different treatment philosophies for morphine addiction. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific case of the patient.

  • Medically-based detox with comprehensive psychotherapeutic treatments in a residential setting – this form of treatment addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the patient’s drug addiction and is, therefore, considered the most comprehensive. This treatment not only addresses the physical or medical aspect of the addiction but also targets the root cause of the patient’s addiction problem and helps them solve and avoid these problems in the future.
  • Non-medical detox with additional psychotherapeutic treatments – the main difference with this treatment is that this is in an outpatient setting. This allows the patients to still continue with their everyday responsibilities and is only required to visit the clinic a couple or so times per week followed by separate visits to counseling facilities and support group meetings.
  • Rapid detox – the main advantage of this treatment is how fast it can deliver the results. This type of treatment can usually be accomplished within 5 to 7 days. After this, psychotherapeutic treatments are still offered to the patient.