Morphine Addiction, Side Effects & Rehab Treatment

2 min read · 2 sections
Evidence-Based Care
Expert Staff

It came to be in 1803 and still reigns supreme today as the pain reliever of choice for moderate to severe pain ranging from post-surgical treatment to end-of-life care. Doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers in 2012, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some who abuse these drugs choose to snort the crushed tablets or even chew on the extended-release tablets, while others inject it. The injectable form of the drug is known to be three times as strong as oral forms, In the Know reports.

Dangers of Abuse

morphine abuse Abusing morphine is highly dangerous and comes at a severe cost for most people. Individuals who inject morphine are at an increased risk of contracting hepatitis. There is a 50-70 percent risk of contracting hepatitis B and a 50-80 percent risk of contracting hepatitis C within five years of the onset of injection drug use, the CDC reports. AVERT reports injection drug use was responsible for 8 percent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2010.

Of course, some users never make it five years. Drug overdoses killed 43,982 people in 2013. Of these, 22,767 were due to prescription drugs and 16,235 of those were solely attributed to opioid pain relievers, per the CDC.

Mercola reports a 25 percent increased chance of developing depression if you take these drugs for 3-6 months, and that risk increases to 53 percent if you use them longer than that.

Some have questioned whether society as a whole may be growing more tolerant of opioid painkillers and considering them safer and more acceptable forms of treatment than they really are. Not only is the rate of prescription increasing, so is the average amount of morphine that comes with each opioid painkiller prescription. MedPage Today reports the amount of oxycodone in one prescription bottle in 2000 was equivalent to 923 mg of morphine,
and that amount has jumped to 1,566 mg as of 2010. The rate of addiction also continues to mount with 1.4 million people having an opioid abuse or dependency problem in 2006, and 2.1 million fitting such criteria by 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Signs of Addiction

Addiction to morphine can form within just a few uses of the drug. Signs of dependence include:

  • Tolerance has developed.
  • You use morphine to avoid going through withdrawal.
  • You have tried to quit and weren’t successful.
  • You no longer hang out with friends or attend family functions, because morphine abuse is your priority.
  • You know your substance abuse is ruining your life, but you can’t stop.
  • A lot of your time is spent preparing for or using morphine.
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