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Concurrent Alcohol and Morphine Abuse

It is never safe to mix alcohol with other medications. Morphine—an opiate—can be particularly dangerous when mixed with alcohol, given its ability to intensify the effects of alcohol intoxication. Alcohol and morphine facts and information indicate that mixing these two substances can lead to a rapid overdose, requiring emergency medical intervention.

Alcohol is not considered a dangerous substance when it is consumed on its own, in moderation. However, it can lead to dangerous physical and cognitive problems when an individual consumes an unhealthy amount in a short period of time. Long-term abusive consumption of alcohol can also cause serious physical damage, especially to the nervous system and an individual’s liver function.

Morphine is a classic opiate used to treat severe pain. Like other opiates, it is a narcotic analgesic, making it a strong medication that is only available by prescription. It is available in pill and liquid form, and individuals with morphine addictions will seek it out for its euphoria-inducing effects. Morphine is only appropriately used for medical purposes with a prescription.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol With Morphine

Alcohol and morphine abuse each present with their own signs and symptoms. However, some of these symptoms appear to be very similar to each other and can manifest similarly in an individual who has overdosed.

Alcohol abuse alone may cause an individual to experience impaired coordination, dizziness, weakness, confusion and a loss of consciousness. Even when an individual is not drinking alcohol, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse include memory problems, physical weakness, and liver damage.

Side effects of morphine use include shallow breathing, dizziness, confusion, low blood pressure and, in cases of overdoses, cardiac arrest, circulatory system collapse and comas. Morphine also poses serious long-term risks for individuals who are addicted, including cognitive difficulties due to drowsiness, constipation and organ damage.

Combined Effects of Morphine and Alcohol Abuse

Since morphine and alcohol both act on the nervous system as depressants, their combined use can exacerbate symptoms of intoxication, causing a person to experience a more rapid, severe overdose. The combined use of morphine and alcohol disrupts thinking and impairs judgment, so an individual may not be able to recognize that he or she has consumed a dangerous amount of either substance and should seek emergency treatment. Dangerous side effects such as a slower heart rate and shallow breathing can quickly intensify, creating a medical emergency for an individual who consumed both substances. Consuming too much of this combination can ultimately lead to seizures or comas.

Concurrent alcohol- and morphine-induced problems can also lead to a greater likelihood of physical injury when an individual is intoxicated. Loss of coordination, lack of concentration and confusion can all result from mixing alcohol and morphine. This may increase an individual’s likelihood of sustaining physical injuries.

Treatment for Co-Occurring Alcohol and Morphine Addiction

drugabuse_istock-57054868-nurse-comforting-rehab-patientTypically, treatment for co-occurring morphine and alcohol abuse involves some form of drug and alcohol rehab. This treatment could take place in an inpatient, residential rehabilitation setting, where individuals live together and focus on withdrawal and maintaining sobriety. Alternatively, an individual can begin the recovery process through addiction counseling, therapy and group meetings—such as 12-Step meetings—with other individuals with past addiction histories. Often, individuals who are new to sobriety will be paired with other group members who have been in recovery for several months or years. These mentors can help newly sober individuals learn to live without alcohol and morphine and talk through difficult situations that otherwise could lead to relapse.

Treatment for abuse of any one substance should include that of any other substances an individual is abusing, as well. Rehab centers and rehab programs will generally be able to assist with multi-substance withdrawal and recovery.

Statistics for Alcohol and Morphine Use

The growing non-medical use of opiate drugs such as morphine continues to be a major public health concern. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 12 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have abused opiates, including morphine. Every year, 1.3 million people are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for drug overdoses, and an estimated 33% of those admitted have overdosed on an opiate like morphine.

Alcohol addiction is also an incredibly prevalent concern. The National Institutes of Health estimate that 88,000 individuals in the United States die each year due to excessive alcohol use, making it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Teen Drinking and Morphine Abuse

The use of drugs like morphine permanently alters a teen’s neurological development and continues to be implicated in thousands of emergency room visits each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Underage drinking and drug use are widespread issues in many countries around the world. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that the average age of opiate addicts was 21, meaning that many individuals with opiate addictions began using in their early or late teens.

Morphine’s long-term effects on a developing brain may lead to neurological dysfunction later in life. Morphine taken without a prescription is dangerous because it is a substance that must be regulated by a medical professional in order to keep individuals from accidentally overdosing on morphine or becoming dependent on it.

Underage drinkers who are unfamiliar with moderating alcohol use may have more difficulty regulating their drinking. This can lead to serious consequences for a still-developing brain, since neurological development continues into the mid-20s and substance abuse can permanently affect this development.

Resources, Articles and More Information

If you want assistance with a morphine or alcohol addiction, please call for free at . Addiction treatment can help anyone battling a substance use problem start on the path to a happier and healthier life. Resources are available to you, and trained professionals are willing to help you transition into sober living and recovery. For more articles, info. and statistics, please visit:

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