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Morphine Abuse Signs, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment

What Is Morphine Used For?

Morphine is the primary chemical component of opium. It is an opioid analgesic drug that is used to treat severe pain, and it is regarded as the gold standard of pain relievers. Morphine use can create a high that includes feelings of euphoria and reduced tension. As an opiate, it can be addictive. This means that:

  • The body develops a tolerance to the drug and, as use continues, it requires more and more to achieve the desired effect.
  • Certain reinforcing brain patterns may develop as a person obsesses over the drug and its effects and, in turn, compel the user to compulsively seek it out.

Morphine use—like that of other prescription opiates—can quickly lead to abuse and dependency, even when the user begins taking it for legitimate medical reasons.

Misusing morphine by taking excess doses and/or combining it with street drugs, alcohol, or even other prescription drugs can have dangerous health effects and may even be fatal.

If you suspect that you or someone you love may be misusing morphine, don’t wait until it’s too late to get treatment. Call American Addiction Centers (AAC) free at to speak to someone today.

Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Abuse

Morphine is sold under several brand names, including:

  • Avinza.
  • MS Contin.
  • Kadian.
  • Oramorph.

Street Names

  • Morf.
  • Mister Blue.
  • Dreamer.

The misuse of morphine can have a number of side effects, including:

  • Lowered blood pressure.
  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Extreme drowsiness.
  • Pinpoint pupils.
  • Difficulty breathing (or inability to breathe).
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Weak pulse/poor circulation.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Cyanosis, or blue tint to lips and fingernails.
  • Coma and death in overdose situations.

Note that one of the main symptoms of morphine abuse is constipation. Morphine and other opiates slow the normal movement of the digestive tract.

A serious complication of morphine abuse is depressed respiratory function. In some situations, this can cause asphyxia and death. Combining morphine with alcohol or other drugs significantly increases this risk.

Side Effects of Morphine Abuse

When assessing whether you or someone you know has a morphine addiction, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of morphine abuse. These can include immediate side effects on someone’s health and personality and lifestyle changes often associated with abuse.

Learn more about the effects of Morphine use.

Morphine Abuse Treatment

Detox and Withdrawal

When quitting morphine, consider detoxing under the supervision of a qualified physician or other medical professional. They will talk you through the process so that you know what to expect. Withdrawal from opiates such as morphine can be quite uncomfortable, and the unpleasant symptoms sometimes diminish a person’s resolve to quit using in the first place. Symptoms of withdrawal from morphine may include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Chills.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and cramps.
  • Fast heartbeat and breathing rate.
  • Insomnia.
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Sweating.
  • Weakness.

Morphine Addiction Treatment Programs

Medical supervision can help minimize the difficult withdrawal symptoms listed above and increase a person’s chances of successfully completing detox. Because of high rates of relapse and the many intense withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use, detox and inpatient rehab programs are great options for people suffering from morphine addiction who want immersive care through the detox and recovery process. Inpatient rehabs offer 24/7 supervision. This lessens the risk that the user will halt detox in the middle of the process.

Outpatient programs incorporate many aspects of inpatient treatment while offering the flexibility of living at home—often at a significantly cheaper price point. It’s important to consider what you or your loved one will need for recovery before choosing the right program for you.

Find Addiction Treatment Programs

You don’t have to suffer alone. With the help of detox programs and inpatient rehab, you can get off morphine under medical supervision, and your symptoms will managed to maximize your comfort. Rehab facilities are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Services Locator to search for treatment centers. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. Please contact us free at to learn about treatment options with AAC.

Key Statistics

The problem of morphine abuse and addiction is a significant one. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • The rate of opioid analgesic use is highest among males between the ages of 20-64 and poverty-stricken populations.
  • An increase in death rates due to accidental drug overdose has been driven by an increased use of drugs like morphine.
  • Prescription opiate abuse has affected a huge portion of our population. For every unintentional overdose death related to an opioid analgesic:
    • 9 people are admitted for addiction treatment.
    • 35 more are admitted to the ER.
    • 161 others report drug dependence or abuse.
    • 461 others report active, non-medical use.

Teen Morphine Abuse

Teens have a number of ways of obtaining morphine. More often than not, teens will acquire the drug by accepting or taking it from family members and/or friends who have or can access prescriptions. The Internet is also an increasingly commonly used method of purchasing morphine.

Alarmingly, according to The Foundation for a Drug-Free World, 50% of teens surveyed believed that prescription drug use is significantly safer than illegal drug use.


There are some measures you can take to prevent teen drug abuse:

  • Discuss the risks of morphine abuse with your children.
  • Make clear to your teen that prescription drugs can be equally as addictive as/more addictive than illicit drugs in many cases.
  • Keep prescriptions locked up and track your use, making notice of abnormal changes to the amounts you have left.
  • Know your teens’ friends and where they are spending their time.

Morphine Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

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