Is it possible to become addicted to morphine?

Morphine is an opium-based prescription drug which is used by doctors in the United States to treat acute and chronic pain. It is also known to be habit-forming and it is chemically similar to heroin. While morphine is a safe and useful drug when used properly in a medical setting, it can be a very dangerous drug when misused and abused. Morphine is available in multiple delivery systems. In the hospital, morphine is often used as an intravenous injectable drug. It can be infused into a patient’s IV access port to provide ongoing pain control for surgery related pain or other types of pain that may occur in the inpatient setting. Many hospitals use morphine for pain control in multiple departments throughout the hospital. In fact, hospital staff with a history of drug abuse are prone to morphine addiction. It is not uncommon for nurses and doctors to become addicted.

Are there other forms of injectable morphine other than IV infusion?

In addition to intravenous morphine, a morphine solution may also be administered by injecting it directly into a muscle, which is known as an intramuscular injection. Besides liquid solutions of morphine that can be used as injectables, there are variety of oral preparations as well. There is immediate release morphine which is available in tablet form and can be swallowed with water. Immediate release morphine prescription tablets work fairly quickly to provide pain relief. This pain relief may last for several hours. As you can see, there are many treatment options when it comes to this drug.

What about extended-release morphine capsules and tablets?

Alternatively, there are long acting, or extended release, forms of morphine. For example there is a brand known as MS Contin, which is a long acting tablet that releases gradually over an 8 to 12 hour period. Another of the common brand names is an extended release form of morphine is known as Kadian. Kadian comes as small beads collected inside of a capsule. This particular form of morphine is a 24-hour preparation which means that the medication only needs to be taken once daily to provide ongoing pain relief throughout the day. While a patient is able to swallow the entire capsule with water, for elderly patients with difficulties swallowing tablets and capsules, it is possible to open the capsule and pour the small beads over a soft food such as applesauce. The time release mechanism is still intact even if the capsule is open and the beads are poured out over food. This is a feature of the drug that is promoted by the manufacturer.

Why would a drug user choose to abuse morphine over heroin?

This is a good question. It would seem that for a drug addict looking for drugs in the street, heroin would be easier to obtain since it is not locked up in a hospital or pharmacy. However, when it comes to addiction, you have to think like a drug-seeking person to understand why morphine addiction exists along with heroin addiction. Morphine is a pharmaceutical product that has a known potency. When people engage in morphine abuse, they know what they are putting in their body. This gives the drug user a sense of security that they have a lower chance of overdosing or getting sick due to contamination or unknown potency of a street product. Interestingly, heroin is converted to morphine in the human body. Both drugs work in a similar fashion on the opioid receptors. On many urine drug screen tests, the test for both drugs is the same. In a sense, heroin addiction is actually morphine addiction.

Is Morphine withdrawal less intense than heroin withdrawal?

The withdrawal syndrome associated with morphine is generally the same as that of heroin withdrawal. There may be a difference in the onset of withdrawal when it comes to long-acting forms of the drug, such as MS Contin, Kadian or Avinza. This is because it takes longer for the drug to leave the system. In some cases, heroin withdrawal can be very prolonged and intense. This is likely due to the uncontrolled and high levels of drug being used by individuals with high tolerance. Additionally, some of the exotic fentanyl analogs that are known to contaminate street heroin can lead to extended, intense withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

What is the best form of morphine addiction treatment?

An addiction treatment center that is prepared to treat opiate addiction in general will be prepared for handling morphine abuse and addiction. Many patients who become addicted also have chronic severe pain issues and started out taking the painkiller for this reason. A small percentage of people who are prescribed morphine use for pain will become addicted. It should be noted that physical dependence on a prescribed drug is not the same as addiction. When addicted, the patient will demonstrated certain behaviors, such as compulsive use in spite of self-harm, as well as secrecy surrounding drug use. Drug addiction is a serious mental health issue that requires proper medical attention.

What pain relievers are safe to take long-term for a person who has been diagnosed with morphine addiction?

This is a good question. There are non-opioid analgesics that are effective painkillers. There are a variety of options to address pain with alternate medications and non-medication treatments as well. It is important, as part of the long-term morphine addiction treatment plan, to avoid opioid drugs as much as possible and to find other solutions for managing pain wherever possible.

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