Morphine Addiction: The Side Effects, Withdrawal and Treatment Options

There is no denying the fact that morphine addiction is becoming a bigger problem in the U.S. than ever before. This drug is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in our hospitals. Some would even argue that it has been over-prescribed, contributing to the opioid epidemic we know of today.                                                                                                              

If you have been taking morphine for a long time, you may already be addicted to it. It is possible to form an addiction to this medication without any intention of abusing it. Of course, there are also those who choose to abuse it. Those who knowingly try to abuse this drug will develop a dependence on it much more quickly.

It’s important to get the facts about morphine if you’re addicted. Learn more about its side effects and possible withdrawal symptoms. In this guide, we will also inform you about the morphine addiction treatment options that you have.

What is Morphine?

Morphine is a pain reliever that works by acting on the central nervous system (CNS). It is most frequently offered to patients in hospitals after they have undergone surgery. However, it can also be prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain caused by serious injuries.

This medication is derived naturally from the opium poppy plant. It can come in the form of a tablet, an injection, or an IV solution. It works very quickly. If administered by IV, its maximum effects can be felt in as quickly as twenty minutes. It may take up to sixty minutes to begin working when taken orally. The effects of an oral dose may last between three and seven hours.

Morphine is used as a precursor for other, similar painkilling drugs. Some of these include hydromorphone, Vicodin, Oxycodone and Codeine. The extended-release formulations work longer to control pain.

This is a very helpful, informative video about morphine:

The economic cost of opioid abuse exceeded $500 billion in 2015. Morphine is one of the most abused opioids out there. It is used legally to treat moderate-to-severe pain, and is one of the most common opioids prescribed in hospitals. Unfortunately, many people who are prescribed morphine will get addicted to it.

Those who become addicted to morphine may try some pretty insane tactics to continue getting the drugs prescribed to them. They may lie about the level of pain that they’re under or they may even go “doctor shopping” to get more prescriptions. Find a list of the brand names for morphine below.

Knowing the brand names won’t necessarily help. Those who have been cut off by doctors may need to go through illegal avenues to get their fix. It is usually not difficult to find this medication on the street. People can buy it in both tablet and IV formulations. It can also be purchased illegally online. They’ll refer to morphine using the street names below.

Brand Names

  • Arymo ER
  • Astramorph
  • AVINza
  • Depodur
  • Duramorphy
  • Infumorph
  • Kadian and Kadian ER
  • MS Contin
  • MorphaBond
  • Oramorph SR
  • Roxano
  • Roxanol

Street Names

  • Mister Blue
  • Dreamer
  • God’s Drug
  • Morpho
  • Miss Emma
  • Aunt Emma

Contrary to popular belief, opiates and opioids are not the same although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Morphine is classified as an opiate medication because it is naturally derived from the poppy plant. It is not created in a lab like other painkillers. Codeine is another example of an opiate, as is heroin.

An opioid includes natural opiates as well as those that are formulated in laboratory settings. Many of the man-made medications use morphine as a base. They all work the same way. They attach to the body’s opioid receptors to relieve pain.

This means that all opiate drugs are also opioids. However, there are many opioids that cannot be classified as opiates. Both types of substances have the potential to be highly addictive.

Morphine is a strong painkiller used for a lot of different purposes. Most doctors will prescribe it when other medications are not working as well as they should. For instance, a doctor may begin a patient on Vicodin for back pain, and then change to morphine if more relief is needed.

Some examples of when morphine might be used to treat pain include:

  • After cancer treatments
  • After broken bones
  • After a heart attack
  • After an invasive surgical procedure
  • After a car accident

The drug is also frequently given to patients who are undergoing surgery. Morphine is paired with other anesthesia. These pain medications provide pain relief for after the operation has been completed. It’s also often given to women who are having cesarean sections.

What Forms and Doses Do Morphine Come In?

How does morphine look like? What is the administration method and what forms and doses do morphine come in? Legally, morphine comes in several different doses and dorms. They include: 

  • Extended-release tablets marketed as MS Contin. This tablet comes in the following doses: 15mg, 30mg, 60mg, 100mg and 200mg.
  • Extended-release tablets marketed as Arymo ER in the following doses: 15mg, 30mg and 60mg
  • Extended-release tablets marketed as MorphaBond in the following doses: 15mg, 30mg, 60mg and 100mg.
  • Morphine sulfate extended-release capsules ni the following doses: 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 45mg, 50mg, 60mg, 75mg, 80mg, 90mg, 100mg and 120mg.
  • Extended-release capsules marketed as Kadian in the following doses: 10mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg, 60mg, 70mg, 80mg, 100mg, 130mg, 150mg and 200mg.
  • Extended-release injectable suspension marketed as DepoDur in 10mg/mL.
  • Injectable solution known as Duramorph in the following doses: 0.5mg/mL and 1mg/mL.
  • High potency injectable solution marketed as Infumorph in the following doses: 10mg/mL and 25mg/mL.
  • Injectable solution of morphine sulfate in the following doses: 0m5mg/mL, 1mg/mL, 2mg/mL, 4mg/mL, 5mg/mL, 8mg/mL, 10mg/mL, 15mg/mL, 25mg/mL and 50mg/mL.
  • Immediate-release morphine sulfate tablet in 15mg and 30mg doses.
  • Morphine sulfate oral solution of 10mg/5mL and 20mg/5mL. 

In a liquid form, morphine is usually found as an orange-colored syrup. The syrup is usually clear or quite transparent. The usual morphine dosage for adults is about 2 to 10 mg/ 70 kg of body weight. The exact dose will vary from one patient to another.

The Chemical Makeup of Morphine

The molecular formula of morphine is C17H19NO3. This is a principal alkaloid in opium. It’s the prototype of which many synthetic and semi-synthetic opioid analgesics and narcotics are made from. It looks very similar to many other addictive opioids.

The chemical structure of morphine allows it to attach to delta, mu and kappa opioid receptors. These receptors will flood the brain with neurochemicals, like dopamine and serotonin. These neurochemicals are responsible for creating analgesic and euphoric effects. Too much of these chemicals can lead to respiratory depression and gastrointestinal smooth muscle contraction. 

Morphine comes in the form of white, crystalline alkaloids. This chemical is odorless and also bitter. When exposed to air, this drug will gradually lose water. When exposed to light, it will darken. Morphine will also emit nitrogen oxide if it is heated to decomposition.

Like other opioid drugs, this drug can have some serious side effects. Many of them should go away after a period of using the medication. However, there are some that may persist.

Some of the most common side effects of morphine include:

  • Drowsiness
  • A dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Significant mood swings
  • Small pupils
  • Stomach cramps
  • Problems with urination, including pain

Occasionally, there are those who will experience more severe side effects. These should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible, and they include:

  • Skin that turns a blue or purple color
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Irregular menstruation
  • A decrease in sexual desire
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • A high or low-grade fever
  • Hives or a rash

Those who experience even more intense and severe side effects may need to stop taking morphine. This painkiller may not be compatible with their system and body. They may need to switch to another alternative.

One of the main side effects of morphine is insomnia. Most doctors and nurses will caution patients of this side effect before they take it. However, most patients will gladly trade the pain that they are experiencing for insomnia.

Morphine users who do fall asleep will usually have vivid and weird dreams. Some people claim that they feel like they’re hallucinating or that they feel awake. Many patients taking morphine will also claim that they are feeling sleepy and less alert during the day. This could be because they have a poor quality of sleep.

Morphine has an effect on the stages of sleep. It not only makes it harder for users to go to sleep, but it also changes the quality of the sleep itself. Small doses of morphine can shorten the duration of sleep in the slow wave sleep (SWS) cycle and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle. These stages are also known as deep sleep, and are crucial to a good night’s sleep.

Morphine Facts

Even if you have been taking morphine for a long time, there may be a lot that you still do not know about it. It is important that you get all the facts when you are taking any kind of opioid medication. Weigh out the pros and the cons of taking morphine to see whether you would benefit from taking this medication. If you have any doubts or concerns, make sure that you speak with your doctor.

The following are some facts about morphine you may not have known until now:

  • In addition to being an opiate and an opioid, this drug is also classified as a narcotic. That means it is a controlled substance that has the potential to lead to addiction.
  • People who abuse this substance may inject it, swallow it, or even smoke it.
  • Morphine works by attaching to your body’s opioid receptors. These receptors are found in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body.
  • When it attaches to opioid receptors, it has the ability to alter the way that people experience pain.
  • People abuse the drug because of the way that it can induce feelings of euphoria.
  • There are a lot of risks involved with abusing morphine. Taking too much can even lead to severe respiratory depression and cause a coma or death.
  • When someone uses it long-term, they can become dependent on the drug. This will then lead to an addiction.
  • This medication should only be used for short periods of time. No one should ever use someone else’s medication, even if they have used it in the past.
Morphine Addiction Information

Famous People who Have Struggled with Morphine Abuse

Many people have struggled with morphine abuse although the media often focus on other drugs, like oxycodone or fentanyl. With that said, morphine has affected many famous people and celebrities. Let’s take a look at some examples below.

William Stewart Halsted was a surgical pioneer. He was responsible for many medical breakthroughs, and was single-handedly responsible for figuring out how to perform a breast mastectomy for removing breast cancer. He was a genius in his field who lived in the late 19th century. 

Unfortunately, drug addiction is nothing new. Halsted was addicted to morphine after trying to see how it could be used to treat an addiction to cocaine. Halsted had first gotten addicted to morphine after using it as an anesthetic. He, then, turned to morphine. His drug addiction to both drugs would put a huge damper on his career and prevent him from accomplishing as much.

Chris Farley was a comedic superstar. Unfortunately, he also struggled with addiction for the majority of his career. He had been in and out of rehabs for at least 17 times before he overdosed on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. In his final days, Farley was on a rampage trying every single drug and doing a bunch of risky things. Those close to him wanted him to get sober, but, as we all know, getting clean is never that easy. 

On December 18, 1997, Farley was found dead in his Chicago apartment after a four-day drinking and drug using binge. An autopsy found cocaine and morphine in his system.

Who can forget the King of Rock n’ Roll? Even now, Elvis Presley’s musical career is still considered amazing. The doctors who first examined him had tried to hide the real cause of his death and had blamed it on natural causes. Officially, his death is attributed to cardiac arrhythmia. The truth, however, was that Presley had died from drug-related causes. A toxicology report had identified a total of 14 different drugs in his system, including, but not limited to, morphine, codeine, methaqualone, meperidine, diazepam, barbiturates and ethchlorvynol.

Morphine Addiction and its Long-Term Effect on the Body

A morphine addiction is something that takes time to progress. It is not going to happen by taking this drug for a short period of time, and it will not happen to everyone who takes it.

Usually, a person will find himself or herself in a situation that requires the use of a strong pain-relieving drug. He or she may get into an accident or suffer from a serious injury. At that point, the patient is prescribed morphine for his or her pain.

Once the patient has been taking the drug for a while, he or she may begin to notice that it does not work as well. The pain may return before the next dose is due. This might cause the patient to take another dose earlier than prescribed. Or, he or she may take a larger dose to compensate. This is called forming a drug tolerance. At that point, the individual is dependent on morphine.

Dependence is different from an addiction. It may be difficult for someone to stop taking morphine if he or she is dependent on it, but it can be done. If the individual does not stop taking the drug, an addiction will form.

An addiction to morphine can take quite a toll on the body. People who become addicted to morphine begin to believe that they need it to survive. They do not feel right when they stop taking it, and without it, they go through withdrawals.

This is a useful video that describes one woman’s experience, and the difference between tolerance and addiction:

Any type of opioid addiction can wreak havoc on someone’s life and on his or her physical body. Morphine is a very powerful medication. Continuing to use it for a long time is going to have consequences.

Some of the long-term effects of morphine include:

  • Losing interest in family and friends.
  • Struggling to be productive at work.
  • Ignoring any health problems that are related to the drug use.
  • Developing financial problems.
  • Stealing from others or becoming involved in other criminal activities.

Once someone is addicted, missing even one dose is likely to result in withdrawal symptoms. They can be both physically and emotionally painful. We will discuss this in more detail in just a moment.

Our country is currently experiencing a serious opioid crisis. So many lives have been lost because of these drugs, and morphine is a key player in the problem.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has shared the following statistics about morphine and other similar opioids:

  • In 2015, 20.5 million people in the U.S. struggled with a substance abuse disorder. Of that number, 2 million addictions involved either morphine or a similar drug.
  • Drug overdose is currently the leading cause of accidental death in our country. There were more than 52,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Of that number, 20,101 of them were related to either morphine or other prescription opioid painkillers. In 2008, the overdose rate was four times what it was in 1999.
  • In 2010, morphine and other opioid drugs sales were four times what it was in 1999.
  • In 2009, the drug addiction treatment rate was six times what it was in 1999.
  • In 2012, there were almost 260 million prescriptions written for morphine and other painkillers. That is enough medication to give every adult in America his or her own bottle of pills.
  • Research shows that four out of five new heroin users begin by misusing prescription opioids.

Those who are prescribed morphine may need to consider the dangers of taking this drug. After all, a morphine addiction can quickly escalate and turn into an even more serious problem. Those who are addicted to morphine may eventually turn to illicit drugs when their prescription runs out. Heroin is a likely candidate.

Mixing Morphine with Medications

Just like other prescription opioids, the chemical makeup of morphine may cause it to interact with other medications as well. Some of these drugs may amplify the effects of morphine, while others may cause unsavory drug interactions that result in other side effects. In general, you should never mix morphine with the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Acetaminophen
  • Butorphanol
  • Buprenorphine
  • Caffeine
  • Darvon
  • Naltrexone
  • Nalbuphine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Sodium oxybate
  • Tramadol
  • Wellbutrin 

It’s possible that mixing these two drugs can result in a higher risk of an overdose. With that said, those who are taking any of the prescription medications above should really consider taking another medication or stopping the use of one medication for the other. Speak with your doctor for more information.

Other than other prescription medications, you should also never mix morphine with other drugs and substances. Many people engage in polysubstance abuse. This means that they will take more than one kind of drug at a time. They may be addicted to prescription opioids, like morphine, and take these drugs while drinking alcohol. 

It is never a good idea to mix morphine with any illicit drugs. Mixing morphine with other illicit drugs may result in some fatal consequences. It’s important to note that it’s almost impossible to ascertain the purity of most illegal drugs. As a result, you really don’t know what you’re taking. The drugs that you’re taking may be tainted with other buffers and substances. 

Mixing two different types of substances together can lead to fatal consequences. This is why morphine tablets and solutions often come with a lot of warning labels. These warning labels don’t clearly spell out the consequences of mixing morphine with illegal drugs. We’ll explore some of the drug interactions between different substances below.

There are some mixed beliefs about mixing morphine with a sedative. While some guides claim that the risk of mixing morphine with a sedative is lower than with another type of drug, there’s still a risk involved. There’s no reason for anyone to mix morphine with a sedative like marijuana

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned people against mixing morphine with a sedating substance. This is particularly true for those who struggle with co-occurring depression or other mental issues. Mixing these two substances together may only exacerbate the conditions and worsen them. 

Sedatives can contribute to depression. When mixed with a depressant, like morphine, they can also increase one’s risk for an overdose. Combining morphine and marijuana together can be too much for some people to handle. The consequences can be fatal.

Mixing morphine with a depressant, like alcohol or heroin, can result in an increased risk of an overdose. Morphine is a depressant. By taking it with another depressant, the effects of morphine will magnify and amplify. The same can be said for the other depressant. Together, the two depressants will place a huge strain on the cardiac and respiratory system. The drug user will be much more likely to overdose on a smaller dose. It will also be more difficult to reverse the effects of the overdose.

Mixing morphine with a stimulant like cocaine is also never a good idea. The reason behind this is that morphine is a depressant. It will have an opposite effect on the body as a stimulant. Due to this reason, the two chemicals will have opposing chemical reactions. This can cause many drug users to take more of each drug in order to get the results that they desire. This may increase their chances of an overdose. 

Another thing to note is that most stimulants are removed from the body rather quickly. Once these stimulants have left the body, the effects of the opioid may overwhelm the system. Once again, this can cause users to overdose. 

Mixing stimulants and depressants together can also place an unnecessary amount of strain on the body. This can cause the user to sustain permanent damage to their body and mind.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Stopping the use of morphine is no easy feat, but it can be done. Keep in mind that it should never be attempted without medical supervision. This is an opioid drug, and it typically causes the usual withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms appear because the body has developed a chemical and physical dependence on the drug. Without it, the body simply cannot function. It does not have the ability to maintain normal neurochemical levels.

In the beginning, withdrawal can seem pretty manageable. It is common for people to experience the following opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Agitation and anger
  • Excessive yawning
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Increased tearing of the eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety symptoms

As the withdrawals progress, the symptoms will usually get worse. The individual may also notice some new symptoms, like:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Intense cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps

It is very hard to cope with these symptoms. Here, one man discusses his personal experience with opioid withdrawal:

It is helpful to understand how morphine withdrawal progresses. This will give you an approximate timeline to follow. The approximate timeline for morphine withdrawals is as follows:

  • Your symptoms should begin within the first six to twelve hours. If you have been taking an extended-release formulation of morphine, it may take longer for the withdrawals to begin. Your early physical symptoms will most likely be aches and pains, a runny nose and cravings. You may find that you’re more irritable and anxious.
  • Between the first 24 and 72 hours, you will probably notice an increase in the severity of your early symptoms. You may also begin vomiting and having diarrhea. This is your body trying to cleanse itself. Some people will also get a fever.
  • After the third day, you should notice some improvement in the severity of your symptoms. As you get closer to the seventh day, you should feel better.
  • After the first week, you may be feeling more like yourself. However, it is not uncommon for symptoms to return without much warning. This is called PAWS, which stands for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

The severity and intensity of morphine withdrawal symptoms will vary from one individual to another. The timeline will also vary depending on the recovering drug user’s genetics, length of drug abuse and more.

Many people will experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These withdrawals occur because your brain chemistry is still trying to return to normal. This can be fairly difficult for your body and mind. It may take some time for your brain to reach a new equilibrium.

Many people experience PAWS with an opioid addiction. The symptoms for PAWS is usually quite similar for all types of addictions. The most common symptoms to keep an eye out for include: 

  • Anxiety, irritability and mood swings
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Low enthusiasm, fatigue and tiredness
  • Increased sensitivity to stress 

The odd thing about PAWS is that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how these symptoms feel like. They can change quite drastically and rapidly. They can also disappear and return quite quickly. Some people may not experience any PAWS for weeks or months at a time before it returns once again. These withdrawal symptoms can return for up to 2 years after the recovering substance abuser has quit their drug or alcohol abuse. 

In general, most PAWS episodes will last for a few days. There are no obvious triggers to look out for. However, some people claim that stressful situations can cause these symptoms to return. Recovering drug addicts will simply wake up one day and feel fatigued and moody. 

Since PAWS is so difficult to handle and deal with, knowing how to survive PAWS is important. It can be the difference between a relapse and lifelong sobriety. Here are some tips and tricks on how to survive PAWS: 

  • Be as patient as possible. Recovery takes time. You won’t achieve sobriety in one day. Just know that PAWS means that your body is starting to recover. Your brain is learning how to maintain normal chemical levels. If you experience PAWS, be gentle on yourself. It shows that you’re on the right path.
  • Relax and go with the flow. The more that you stress about PAWS, the worse the symptoms will be. Just go with the flow and try to relax. If the symptoms are too much to bear, try to spend some time taking care of yourself. Don’t put too much on your plate.
  • Take care of yourself. It can be difficult to find the energy to take care of yourself when you’re struggling with PAWS. Make sure that you still remember to shower and take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, exercise and stay hydrated. 

Each episode of PAWS won’t last long. You just have to grin and bear through it. With a little practice, you’ll find yourself conquering PAWS without wanting to relapse.

Signs of a Morphine Overdose

Morphine overdoses can happen to those who are taking the drug illegally, and even to those who are taking it at a hospital or an inpatient center. A morphine overdose can happen quite quickly. If action is not taken immediately, the overdose victim can die. 

Signs of a morphine overdose are similar to overdose symptoms for other kinds of opioids. Common morphine overdose symptoms to look out for include:

  • Abdominal spasms and pain
  • Bluish-colored lips, nail beds and tongue
  • Constipation and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Difficulties breathing, like slow and labored breathing
  • Drowsiness and extreme fatigue
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Low body temperature
  • Muscle damage, aches and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures and tremors 

In extreme cases, overdose victims can even go into a coma. If they go into a coma, they are more likely to sustain muscle damage. In worst-case scenarios, the overdose can even lead to fatalities.

Just how much morphine would a person have to consume to overdose? Does this amount vary from one person to another? Who is most at risk of overdosing? 

The amount that is needed will vary from one person to another. It all depends on whether the individual has any tolerance to the drug and his or her biological makeup. 

With that said, many studies have looked at the mean morphine blood level in overdose victims. A study found that the mean morphine blood level in 10 fatal overdose cases ranged from 0.2 to 2.3 ug/g. Some patients may have a higher concentration of morphine in their system at the time of their death. Young children and babies are a lot more susceptible, and will overdose at much lower doses.

Are some people more likely to overdose on morphine than others? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Those who have certain medical conditions are more likely to overdose on morphine. The risk factors for overdosing on morphine include: 

  • Having a head injury
  • Struggling with asthma, chronic bronchitis or any other respiratory issues
  • Having any condition that increases intracranial pressure on the brain
  • Being malnourished
  • Having engaged in polysubstance abuse
  • Taking morphine not as prescribed by changing the method of administration or taking a larger dose
  • Taking the same dose of morphine as before after quitting for some time 

Even those who are prescribed morphine can overdose on this drug. Those who would like to avoid an overdose should be careful with their morphine consumption. They should keep a careful log on the dosage that was taken and when it was taken. 

It’s important to note that those who break morphine tablets apart are much more likely to overdose. Extended-release tablets are designed to break down slowly to provide long-lasting pain relief. Those who break open the tablets will be exposed to higher concentrations of morphine, which can lead to an overdose.

If you’ve walked into a room and found that an addicted family member or friend has overdosed on morphine, what should you do? Most people would freak out. But now is the time to stay calm. Quick action can save the overdose victim’s life. 

The first thing that you should do is call 9-1-1. You can also consider calling poison control. The overdose victim will need immediate medical attention. To make sure that the overdose victim gets immediate help, provide the 9-1-1 operator with the following information: 

  • The overdose victim’s age, weight and condition
  • The name of the product that was used
  • How much morphine the overdose victim took
  • The length of the drug abuse
  • Whether the overdose victim struggles with any co-occurring disorders

Don’t hold back. If you know anything pertinent to the situation, spill the beans. Even if you don’t know any of the information listed above, do not wait to call 9-1-1. Get the overdose victim help as soon as possible. Try to stay with the overdose victim if possible. Do not leave his or her side, as his or her condition can worsen. 

One of the most common overdose symptoms is a loss of consciousness. If the overdose victim does lose consciousness, place the overdose victim on his or her side. This is also known as the recovery position, and will protect the victim from choking on his or her own vomit.

Morphine overdoses can also lead to respiratory depression. Those who are overdosing on morphine may stop breathing. You’ll also need to perform CPR immediately if that’s the case.

Once the emergency responders arrive, they will administer naloxone and bring the overdose victim to the emergency room. There, they will receive the addiction treatment that they need.

Knowing what happens next is also important. Many people don’t actually know what happens once the overdose victim gets to the emergency room. Will he or she need more treatment? Or, will he or she simply be under medical supervision? It all depends on the severity of the condition, as well as many other factors. 

In most cases, the overdose victim will need continual care. At the emergency room, most overdose victims may receive the following treatments: 

  • A dose of activated charcoal to remove decontaminates in the gastrointestinal system
  • Airway support, like a breathing tube or a breathing machine
  • Blood and urine tests to determine morphine levels in the body
  • Chest x-rays to see whether there is any damage to the respiratory system
  • EKG to determine the cardiac condition of the overdose victim
  • Fluids through a vein to keep the victim hydrated and healthy
  • Laxatives
  • Naloxone to reverse the effects of the morphine overdose 

Oddly enough, those who are admitted for an opioid overdose may not need to stay at the hospital for long. In fact, many hospitals recommend keeping patients there for 6 to 12 hours only. That’s not a lot of time. The hospital will release the victim once the medical staff has established that the victim is no longer in any danger.

Naloxone and Opioid Overdoses

Fentanyl overdoses have so much media attention that many people forget that there are many other types of opioids out there. Morphine is also one of the most dangerous opioids on the market that can cause an overdose. 

Fortunately, there is now a “cure” or an “antidote” that can reverse the effects of the opioid overdose. This “antidote” is known as naloxone. This miracle drug is one of the many ways that the government is using to fight the rising opioid epidemic in America.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone has a chemical structure that is very similar to opioids, like morphine. As a result, it has a strong affinity for opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). Once these drugs enter a person’s system, it will attach to the mu, kappa and delta opioid receptors in the CNS. 

Instead of stimulating these receptors, naloxone will attach to them and block opioids from stimulating them. They basically block the opioid receptors from being stimulated. By doing so, the opioid abuser will not experience any opioid effects. And, their body will have enough time to clear and excrete the opioids safely. 

Naloxone is a miracle drug because it buys opioid addicts time. The effects of naloxone will kick in within 2 to 5 minutes. Those who administer naloxone should see a difference almost immediately. If no difference is seen, another dose may be needed. The effects of this medication will last for about 90 minutes. Once the effects wear off, the affected individual can still experience an overdose if there is still too much opioid in his or her system. 

Naloxone is easy to administer and use. It’s also fairly cheap. This drug also does not increase drug use in communities at all.

Some people may feel hesitant to administer naloxone even if they have it on their person. This is because they may be afraid that they’ll get into trouble if they do. After all, they may be worried that they’ll be held responsible if the naloxone doesn’t work. The same individuals may also be worried that they may be held responsible if the overdose victim has an adverse reaction to naloxone. 

Thankfully, no one can be held responsible if someone goes wrong. The Good Samaritan Law protects anyone who administers naloxone from facing any legal consequences. As long as you believe that the affected individual is in danger, you have every right to administer naloxone. 

The Good Samaritan Law does more than protect the person administer naloxone. It can also protect anyone at the scene of the overdose from being charged with simple possession. Possession of 4 or fewer pills without a prescription could lead to up to 18 months of incarceration and fines of up to $10,000. Possession of between 5 and 99 pills can lead to fines of up $200,000 and up to 5 years in jail. 

This law also protects anyone at the scene of the overdose from being charged for breach of probation or parole.

Naloxone is a fairly easy drug to administer. How the drug should be administered will depend on the type of naloxone that you get. At this current moment, there are three different types of naloxone. They include: 

  • Having to assemble an injectable. This type of naloxone usually contains a generic version of the drug. The injection should be made to a muscle. Also, since these kits do not come assembled, those who administer naloxone through this way will need professional training.
  • Injecting an auto-injectable called EVZIO® to the thigh muscles. This prefilled device comes with verbal instructions once it is activated. This makes administer naloxone a much simpler task. Anyone can do it.
  • Using the nasal spray NARCAN®. To use this drug, the naloxone will need to be sprayed into one nostril of the victim as he or she lies on his or her back. 

Administering naloxone is usually pretty straightforward. There isn’t anything difficult with administering naloxone. Those who would like some visual instructions should check out the video below: 

If you or a loved one abuses naloxone, a key question to answer is where you can get it. You definitely don’t want to have to scramble to look for the drug when you need it. Instead, it’s always better to have some form of naloxone around. 

But, what can you do? Where can you get naloxone from in America? The answer is fairly simple. You can get naloxone from:

  • Town halls
  • Outreach centers and programs
  • Community centers
  • Drug and alcohol rehab facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Fire departments
  • Police departments 

You can also purchase naloxone from any pharmacy. No prescription is needed with naloxone. Anyone can get their hands on this drug by going to a pharmacy. The cost of naloxone is about $100 or less for two doses of the medication. 

Unfortunately, many pharmacies are raising the price of this life-changing medication. Since 2014, this drug has seen a 600% increase in price.

What is the Best Way to Stop Taking Morphine?

It is never a good idea to stop taking morphine on your own. If you attempt to go cold turkey, you may throw yourself into withdrawal quickly. It will be very difficult to stay clean without relapsing.

You also should not attempt to taper down your medication on your own. This method is often used during detox, but it could cause problems if you go too slow or too fast. A taper is best left to professionals who understand how these drugs work in the body.

Your best option is to recover from your morphine addiction in a professional setting. This will involve a combination of detox and rehab, which will give you the best chance of being successful.

The Role of Detoxification

Detoxing is a vital part of the recovery process when you are addicted to a drug like morphine. An opioid detox will adequately address all of your withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for you to stop. The goal will be to keep you comfortable and to avoid any complications that can often accompany withdrawals.

Going to a drug detox is very important because it will help with the physical part of your addiction. You will also be able to prepare yourself mentally for the addiction treatment that comes next. 

There are two different types of detox care: inpatient and outpatient. In most cases, morphine addicts will need to opt for inpatient care. There, they’ll receive a more intense level of care that can keep them safe.

Most addiction treatment professionals agree that there are a lot of benefits to attending an inpatient medicated detox. This level of care is highly recommended to opioid abusers. There are several reasons for this.

First and foremost, your safety is a major priority during recovery. Many people suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking morphine. If you are in an inpatient setting, you will be monitored carefully, 24 hours a day. This helps to ensure that you won’t deal with any dangerous or life-threatening withdrawals. In the event that your condition worsens, there will be doctors there to treat you immediately. They can prescribe other medications that keep dangerous withdrawals at bay. Or, they can change your entire treatment plan.

It will also benefit you to remove yourself from the environment you were using in. Triggers are very real, and you do not always know what might make you want to use again. Going to an inpatient facility will erase that worry completely. You’ll be in a comfortable environment with all of the resources and tools that you need to get sober.

Here is an excellent video that covers triggers in more detail:

The Benefits of an Outpatient Medicated Detox

An inpatient detox program will require you to move into the drug detox and rehab facility. You won’t be able to leave the premises until you’ve fully covered. This can be too much effort or commitment for some patients. They may not have the time or the means to receive inpatient detox. 

Another option is outpatient detox programs. These programs are not highly recommended for those who are abusing morphine because they don’t offer a high level of care. Patients are not under constant supervision. Instead, they are given a medication treatment plan to follow. Patients will be expected to take the medications at home and to follow the schedule without being constantly supervised. 

Outpatient detox programs open up the patients to more risk. They may not be able to follow the treatment plan if they are not motivated enough to quit. They also may have difficulties following the treatment plan if they do not have a stable, secure and safe home environment. 

With that said, patients can book an appointment with their doctors at any time. If they ever need extra support, they can easily get it.

Your Medication Options for Withdrawal Treatments

There are two different types of detox. Medical detox involves using medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, holistic detox services will rely on a natural approach to ease the same symptoms. Holistic detox services include exercise therapy, art therapy, nutrition therapy and more. Basically, patients learn how to live healthier lives. 

Most experts agree that when it comes to opioid drugs, a medicated approach is best. Medical detox is also called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. It works very well in treating morphine addiction.

Your doctor will talk with you about the different medication options available to you. Together, you’ll choose the one that you feel will work the best. You may need to try different medications to figure out which one works best for you. Here are some examples of the different drugs used during opioid replacement therapy.

You may find that you experience severe anxiety when you stop taking morphine. Clonidine is a drug that can help treat your anxiety. It works by stabilizing your blood pressure; thus,  reducing symptoms of anxiety.

Most patients are started on either buprenorphine (Subutex) or Suboxone. These medications work by attaching to the opioid receptors in the body. They can effectively treat withdrawal symptoms and bring much-needed relief. Even so, they should be used with caution because they are opioid drugs, themselves. 

Buprenorphine, or Suboxone, is a partial opioid agonist. This means that it stimulates the same opioid receptors as heroin. The main difference between this medication and strong opioids is that it has a lower potential of abuse. Buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect”. After a certain dose, it doesn’t matter if you take a larger dose, you still won’t get high. This prevents this medication from being abused or misused.

Methadone is another opioid medication that has been FDA approved to treat opioid addiction. This drug must be given at an approved methadone clinic. Patients usually take it daily, and there is some risk of secondary addiction. It is not used as much today as it once was. 

Methadone is a full opioid agonist. This means that it works in the same was as strong opioids, like heroin. It will attach to the same opioid receptors. Due to this reason, those who abuse this medication can also get high. Unlike buprenorphine, there is no “ceiling effect”. Someone who abuses methadone can get addicted to it just as easily.

Vivitrol has been compared to Suboxone in several studies. Many experts believe that it is the superior medication because of its many benefits. It is non-addictive, and it is not an opioid drug. Patients only need to take it once every month, and it is given by injection. Many people appreciate the convenience, and Vivitrol has shown promising results as a long-term recovery solution. 

This drug is an opioid antagonist. It means that it attaches to opioid receptors in the body and block opioids, so they cannot have an effect even if they are in one’s system.

Morphine Addiction Treatment and Your Options

After completing detox, patients are ready to move on to drug rehab. This is a very important step because it will address the psychological side of the addiction. Sometimes people think they do not need further treatment after detoxing. However, it is very important to treat the cause of the addiction. This includes the type of triggers that caused one to abuse morphine in the first place, and whether there are any mental health disorders that contributed to the neurochemical imbalance.

There are several different options available to you for morphine rehab. Let’s take a look at what they are.

An inpatient treatment center is a very popular option, and many believe that it is the most effective. This involves staying in a facility for a period of about 28 days. During that time, patients receive many different types of therapy. 

An inpatient rehab is similar to an inpatient detox program. Patients receive around-the-clock care and supervision. They have access to doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and more. They’ll also have access to a bunch of therapies and amenities at the rehab center. This type of rehab program is the most intensive. Standard inpatient rehab programs can cost about $30,000 per month.

Outpatient treatment usually only involves counseling; although there are some therapists who also offer support groups. This is a good option for people who have been through an inpatient or more intensive program. But it is usually not enough support for someone who is new to treatment.

There are several different types of outpatient treatment programs. They include: 

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs), which involve getting treatment every day. Patients will go to the outpatient rehab for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours of treatment. They get to choose whether they would go in for treatment during the day or at night. This type of treatment is ideal for those with young children.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). An intensive outpatient treatment program may be a great option for someone who cannot commit to an inpatient facility. This type of care will allow people to live at home, but they are required to attend several appointments every week. During that time, they will work with a therapist one-on-one and participate in group therapy sessions. Patients must commit to at least 9 hours of therapy every week.
  • Standard outpatient programs. There are no commitments involved with this type of treatment program. Patients can schedule addiction treatment for whenever they need it. 

Outpatient treatment offers the most flexibility and freedom. Patients don’t need to live at the treatment facility at all. These programs also tend to be more affordable in comparison to inpatient facilities.

For those who are not ready to commit to any type of professional treatment, Narcotics Anonymous is another option. NA has been around for several decades, and it is an organization that offers support group meetings for addicts. The meetings are held once a week, and there is no charge to join.

Crack Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Get Treatment for Your Morphine Addiction Right Away

No matter what you decide to do, it is our hope that you are ready to get help for your morphine addiction. This is a problem that is not going to go away on its own. Most people find that they need professional help if they want to recover. At Northpoint Washington, we are here to help you.

Morphine is a very difficult drug to stop; there is no doubt about that. You may even be afraid to admit that you need help. Our staff members understand the fear you have because many of them are recovering addicts themselves. You will be in very good hands. Our staff are committed to helping you get sober, and will walk you through every step of the recovery process.

Did we answer all of your questions about morphine addiction? If you are ready to take the next steps needed to change your life and begin your recovery, please contact us.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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