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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Is Morphine addiction real? Well, YES, Morphine is a very well-known drug that is commonly abused. Morphine belongs to the opiates family. It is one of the potent opioid analgesics which targets the brain and causes manipulation in pain perception by the person. Morphine Addiction is a ground reality and is widespread in our society. Morphine addiction Statistics show how many people suffer from a Morphine addiction – More than 5 million people were reportedly on Morphine abuse.

According to the center for disease control and prevention (CDCP), around 9200 Americans died of opioid overdose. Hence, it was declared a nationwide Public Health emergency in 2017. You know Morphine was ranked as the third leading drug to cause emergencies alighting in hospitals for admission. How dangerous is Morphine?  How can you get addicted to Morphine? To know more about Morphine abuse, scroll down to read!

A picture of a syringe with a light blue background.

Have you ever experienced the endmost craving for Morphine? Hankering for Morphine that even makes you do anything to get for a while? Well, if your answer is YES, you might suffer from Morphine Addiction. Morphine has a dormant to be highly abused because of its relatively easy accessibility and pleasurable effect.

Morphine – An Opioid

Morphine is extracted from the poppy seeds; semi-synthetic and synthetic compounds. Its mechanism of action works with the opioids receptors present in the brain.

Street Morphine – Slang 

Morphine addicts usually call Morphine with different nicknames such as M, Monkey, Roxanol, Monf, Dreamer, Unkie, Morpho, Blue, Emsel, First line, God’s Drug, Auntie Em, S., Mister Blue, Tango and Cash, TNT, Murder 8, Goodfella, White stuff and Miss Emma.

Statistically, 10% of the U.S population have abused Morphine at a certain stage of their life. Sadly, the U.S official report mentioned that half of the accidental drug deaths that happened in the U.S were just because of Morphine abuse. Can you believe that motor vehicle injuries are familiar with Morphine addicts compared to non-Morphine users, even with the general population?

Norco Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

So, you see, this is a national issue. The authorities recorded this massive number of mortalities, and their graph is still going up. An alarming situation, though! Another rare fact is that certain studies found out that fracture susceptibility is more in Morphine users than in non-Morphine users.

The risk of fracture is four times more during opioids usage, as well-documented in one study. This big surge diverts the researcher to study more about it. Let them explore!

Morphine helps to take the edge off the pain. This property of Morphine makes it a valuable drug in the medicinal field. It is used to treat acute pain or chronic conditions such as post-operative pain, palliative care, active-phase cancer pain, and end-of-life care. Morphine addiction after surgery is often seen in patients who are initially using the drug for pain management.

Note: Morphine is available for its therapeutical use with the brand name of Kadian, Duramorph, MS Contin

Read Also: Xanax Addiction and Symptoms of Alprazolam Abuse

Once the person started to feel high on Morphine, he wants to sustain this feeling for an extended period. This accounts for misuse or abuse of Morphine. Firstly, he uses Morphine to relieve any painful condition, but later on, he becomes so influential to Morphine that he starts to use it without any medical need.

If I say in simple words, every time you use any Morphine without the prescription or need, it is considered Morphine drug abuse.We already know that it is not legal to take any drug without prescription, though, it is only legal to use when prescribed by the authorized person.

Morphine is used as an analgesic for people who are suffering from a chronic pain condition. Side effects of Morphine addiction take advantage of Morphine therapeutical effect. But what causes it to lead to abuse?

Frankly speaking, Morphine gives a gratifying sense to the user. People, by nature, always go with the things that give them mental peace. And, if it is available with a little effort, it will give an additional boost.

Morphine has a broad spectrum of pharmacological activity; hence Morphine addiction signs and symptoms are not limited to only brain zone. Some of the reported Morphine addiction effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Pain relieve
  • Minimize anxiety and apprehensions
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargic or torpor
  • False well-being
  • Calm sedative feeling
  • Respiratory depression
  • Antitussive activity
  • Miosis 
  • Erratic sleep cycles
  • Hormonal dysregulation

Let’s have a look at the side effects a Morphine addict has to be gone through.

Avoiding social interactions

In real life, a Morphine addict spends an enormous amount of time to find out the Morphine drug, use it, and remain under its effect. So, his whole world revolves around this cycle. He does not get the time for anything else, which makes him less or no more engaged in social activities. He just try to ignore all the usual social obligations he has.

Irritation & Aggression                                                                                           

If you need something and face difficulties in finding it, or, you feel high on something, it is obvious that you, unintentionally, start to annoy and feel uncomfortable. Abuser under Addiction to Morphine loses his peace of mind, which leads to aggression even for the useless and tiny matters.

Conspicuous Weight Loss

Morphine addiction affects not only the addict’s mental health but also their physical health too. You might experience less hunger or a sleepless night in a stressful situation at some stage in life. However, this is precisely the same Morphine addicts face, ultimately destroying their physical health and psychological well-being. Loss of appetite, disturb sleeping patterns, the continuous stressed state of mind for looking out the ways to get drug, nausea, and vomiting because their digestive system gets affected by the drug are the reasons to lose a lot of weight.


Continuous urge to sleep or extreme drowsiness are constant signs of Morphine addiction. However, Morphine addicts experience an unusual pattern under the influence of Morphine. They can sleep anywhere for the whole day and night. Hence, a constant state of tiredness and fatigue has further shoved the condition toward the worst.

Psychological Effects of Morphine

Other than behavioral changes like irritation and aggression, euphoria, dysphoria, delusion, and hallucinations are the effects of Morphine encountered by its addicts. Sudden lying, stealing, withdrawal from responsibilities, not showing concern, or not being interested are the signs that are commonly identified.

Monetary Crisis

A reality check – In this world, nothing is free; you have to pay bills, buy food, and work for your survival. Does it make sense to manage all these responsibilities without mental and physical well-being? No. Of course not possible! Sadly, Morphine addicts remain unable to manage their fair expanses, and at the same time, also lose all their money in buying and purchasing the drug, ultimately, left with no money to survive.

Regardless of its availability in different forms, Morphine is a highly addictive drug in all states. It travels through blood reaches to the brain and acts on receptors to reduce pain along with euphoric and pleasant sensations.

In contrast, Morphine addiction is more than codeine, but some other opioids like heroin, oxycodone, and fentanyl are more capable of causing Addiction when compared with Morphine.

One should think that how much Morphine can be taken safely or how much Morphine will kill you? The answer can only be given by the experts, their experience with the drug usage, and their knowledge related to the personal matter.

Morphine is an effective painkiller, and if we say it is the most dynamic opioid drug in medicine to date, then it would not be wrong. It is widely available in different forms like solid pills, capsules, and suppository or injectable forms. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared Morphine as a Schedule II controlled substance that means it’s used with extreme caution and regulation. 

An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. If you use Morphine for a more extended period or treatment of a chronic condition, the result may come out as distress or impairment. If we know about Morphine’s pharmacological effects, it causes breathlessness, and sometimes it tends to be so intense that it may lead to death as well. As Morphine induces positive augmentation, people continue its use despite receiving negative results. Honestly, it is considered a life-long disorder.

Morphine Patch Addiction

A Morphine patch is basically a fentanyl patch, and these names are primarily exchangeable.

Note: Fentanyl is also an opioid and serves as a pain medication used in combination with anesthesia.

As the name suggests, it is a patch of medicine that is used to treat moderate to extreme pain. Do you know how the patch looks like? I assume you do, indeed! It does have an adhesive back for placement on the needed area, and other ends of the patch have a drug agent that can easily pass through the skin and provide sustainable long-term release of medicine for pain management.

Related: Gabapentin Abuse and Side Effects

Likewise, Addiction to Morphine patches is also a factor that one should care about. People gradually develop an addiction if they do not use it with caution, even if only used when needed or for a shorter period of time with a lesser quantity of dose, Addiction can still be the result.

Morphine patch addiction can be identified when someone tries to taper off the last dose, and their desire to apply another patch holds the surge. After stopping the dose, withdrawal symptoms are mostly seen to appear and to overcome these withdrawal effects, the user again starts to apply the patch, and then this vicious cycle of Addiction goes up to an unstoppable stage.

Probability Factor Associated with Morphine Patch

Needless to say, everybody is different; every person experiences a different response. It is not unusual that some might get one kind of sign related to any drug, and others might get some other kind of. Nevertheless, researchers also play an important role and work very hard to find all the possible effects, at least as much as they can.

Common Findings

Here is the list of some common issues associated with the Morphine patch

  • Lethargic
  • Apathetic
  • Redness at the site of patch 
  • Itching at the site of patch
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • Confusion
  • Uncoordinated actions and movements
  • Irregular painful bowel movements
  • Black coloration of stool
Sporadic Findings

Now this list tells you some less-occurring but more severe issues associated with the Morphine patch

  • Constant pressure felt in the brain and skull
  • Appetite loss
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Diplopia – double vision
  • Migraines
  • Muscle convulsions
Rare Findings

If a person is wrongly dosed or having a reaction, he will even get some most serious but as rare as hen’s teeth issues associated with Morphine patch

  • Faint heartbeat
  • breathing difficulties
  • lung collapsed (partial and fully)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Psychological disorders
  • Coma
  • Death

Tramadol is a safe centrally acting analgesic, but its potential to cause analgesia is somewhat lower than Morphine. If taken through the oral route, Tramadol shows opioid-like effects physically and psychologically, but it does not show any opioid-like effect through the parenteral route.

The addiction rate of Tramadol is less when compare with Morphine Addiction; however, in some of the countries like Egypt, Gaza, Jordon, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, a few African regions, and Togo listed the evidence of growing Tramadol addiction.

The Lethal Combo – Combined Morphine, Percocet, and valium addiction are worse than the single substance. All three are narcotics and work on CNS directly, thus exhibits a high potential for abuse.

If a person takes a hefty dose of Morphine either intentionally or accidentally, this will refer to Morphine overdose. Considering the nature of opioids, even a usual careful therapeutic dose of Morphine is somehow enough to get hold of the person in Addiction. So, you can imagine what disasters this overdose would do if happens.

Signs of Morphine Overdose 

  • Constricted, pinpoint, or small pupils (black part of the eye)
  • Reduced responsiveness – Confusion
  • decreased awareness – Agitation
  • Intense drowsiness
  • fever (low to moderate)
  • Hypertension – Increased blood pressure
  • Polydipsia – Increased thirst
  • Body aches- Lower back or constant side pain
  • Muscle cramps and muscle spasms
  • Muscular pain or Stiffness
  • Restrict muscular movements – Muscle tone reduced
  • Too much Sleepiness 
  • Swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
  • Weight gain
  • Hallucination
  • loss of appetite
  • Fainting

Risk Factor of Morphine Overdose

Several risk factors are associated highly with a Morphine overdose. Some of them are: Age and Health-Related Factor. Old age is always a risk factor for health-related issues. For example, if a person is 65 years old and has any respiratory issue, is debilitated, or has cachexia, i.e., wasting syndrome, is more prone to sensitize by Morphine leads to overdose. In contrast, if a young adult ages 18 to 25 years and alcoholic plus faces some mental condition like depression, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and fear are prone to misuse and lead to overdose.

Dose-Duration and Formulation-Related Factor

Do you know how much Morphine will kill you? When you increase the Morphine dose, you actually increase the risk of misuse and overdose leading to death. Long-term and long-acting usage of Morphine leads to the harmful effect of long-term Morphine addiction.

Interaction with Other Medicine-Related Factor

Certain drugs should not be taken along with Morphine because it may either slow down the release or cause overdose or may cause poisonous interactions. Drugs like Benzodiazepines (Alprazolam, Lorazepam, or Diazepam), Sedative/hypnotic agents (Zolpidem or Eszopiclone), Muscle relaxants (Carisoprodol, Chlorzoxazone, or Methocarbamol), Antipsychotics (Haloperidol, Quetiapine, or Risperidone), and other Central Nervous System depressants (alcohol or street drugs) should be avoided.

Limited under control dosage of Morphine prescribed by a physician can be administered safely; however, when the dose is taken in a large amount over a prolonged time, the user develops dependence.

We know that our daily life routine needs lots of focus, alertness, and mental peace, physical and psychological coordination to do the different major and minor tasks.

Morphine dependency takes the person up to the point where he no longer can perform daily, even casual routine tasks without using the Morphine in a certain amount.

Firstly, a person starts to misuse Morphine by taking larger doses than the prescribed dose, then he develops tolerance to the prescribed amount of Morphine, and he further goes ahead to increase the dose. 

Basically, Morphine tolerance is characterized by the ineffectiveness of Morphine within the prescribed limit. This is because the Morphine addicts abuse Morphine at such a level that their body declines to cause effects at the prescribed amount.

Furthermore, to achieve the required result, the abuser starts to rise the dose without any recommendation by experts.

After understanding the dependency of Morphine and how the tolerance level reaches up by the continuous use of Morphine, you can easily acknowledge the Morphine withdrawal effects by looking into their sign and symptoms. It is a vicious cycle of using, misusing, and abusing Morphine that activates a person’s brain to take more and more to feel normal. 

So, when measures are taken in counter of stopping this vicious stage of addiction, the addict exhibits some severe effects that affect overall health. To overcome these harmful effects on health, a person again starts to take Morphine, reverse back to the addiction stage, and relapse.

Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal

Here is the list of fewer symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal that are not so severe but sometimes may become too intense:

  • Flu-like symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Insomnia
  • Body aches and pains
  • Excessive sweating

Duration of Withdrawal

As for Morphine users, all are different from each other, so the duration of showing, sustaining, and recovering symptoms varies as well. Sometimes, it starts after 6 hr. of the last dose and persists minor symptoms of about 3 days to 5 days.

Symptoms related to the mind may last for weeks; often, Morphine abusers develop confusion, anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, deterioration, and difficulty experiencing pleasure last longer.

While abusers face severe withdrawal symptoms upon trying to break the vicious cycle of addiction, Morphine detoxification is needed. This will help to successfully come out from the Morphine addiction with the help of medical experts by providing a controlled environment to an addict.

Read Also:Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction Side Effects

By this method, medical experts help addicts by different means such as slowly tapering off the Morphine, prescribing antagonists, and recommend non-opioid drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms.

The misuse of Morphine primarily characterizes Morphine Addiction. Morphine is considered a very useful drug. It has many beneficial effects when used in a limited prescribed quantity. Its usefulness in the medical field gives it a high power to stand in the class of opioids. It is best described as a potent painkiller used in multiple post-operative and severe cancer patients. Also, it reduces the dose of anesthesia when used in conjunction.

Apart from its beneficial effects, it also has a dark side of being abused widely and cause addiction. While using, one should carefully monitor its side effects and consistency to develop tolerance, dependency, and overdose.



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