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Getting Treatment for a Morphine Addiction

Morphine addiction treatment is an essential step in a person’s recovery from morphine dependency and addiction. Out of all of the different types of addictions that a person can develop, morphine addiction is one of the toughest to control. Without professional treatment, it is particularly difficult for a person with a morphine problem to achieve long-term sobriety and avoid relapsing. Many people will still crave morphine years after they have stopped using it because they remember how good it felt when they were on the drug.

The social stigma of being a morphine addict can prevent many people from seeking treatment. Morphine is literally the angel and the devil in the room, offering welcome relief from debilitating pain, while, at the same time, being one of the most addictive substances available. A morphine addict is not necessarily someone who was looking for a way to get high and who created his or her own addiction morass. Anyone who uses morphine can become dependent on the drug, even when it is prescribed for legitimate medical purposes. Hence morphine addiction treatment is often sought.

Morphine is the gold standard of pain relief drugs. It is the prototypical opioid, the root of all of the most effective drugs for pain relief. The drug is often the only way dying patients can live out their last days with some ability to function normally. It is also used to alleviate post-operation pain and to control the pain of childbirth. Morphine is the best option for treating severe or chronic pain, yet doctors prescribe it as a last resort because of its addictive potential.

Although the dangers of morphine use for legitimate medical purposes are substantial, they pale in comparison to the dangers of illicit use. Recreational use of morphine is the functional equivalent of heroin use. Heroin is formulated from morphine and turns back into morphine when it enters the brain. People who abuse morphine are at high risk for dependency, tolerance, addiction, overdose, and sudden death. The people involved in the morphine and heroin drug culture also risk infection and disease from intravenous use.

Medical professionals recommend supervised morphine detox for anyone who has developed a physical dependence on the drug, followed by individual psychotherapy in morphine rehab to break the psychological dependence.

What is Morphine?

Morphine is a natural narcotic that can be harvested from the liquid in the poppy plant. It is the principal chemical compound found in opium. Morphine and the other natural narcotics that can be extracted from opium are called opiates. All the drugs that are chemically synthesized from opium and morphine are labeled opioids. Heroin is synthesized from morphine; in fact, the two drugs are functionally equivalent for the purposes of dependency and addiction because heroin turns back into morphine when it enters the brain.

Morphine blocks the pain receptors in the brain, substituting the drug for the brain’s natural production of certain chemicals. The message that the body is in pain can no longer effectively reach the brain. Instead, morphine acts on the reward centers of the brain to produce feelings of pleasure. This stigma is a good reason why it is important to seek morphine addiction treatment.

All opiates and opioids are highly addictive, even when used as prescribed. This class of drugs can create a physical dependency within a short amount of time. Psychological dependency typically takes a while longer to develop but is equally dangerous. Legal users can develop a tolerance for the drug, tempting them to use it in ways that are not authorized by the prescribing doctor. Morphine produces the same sort of euphoric high as heroin and all the other drugs derived from opium, encouraging recreational use that can quickly spiral out of control.

Morphine is a Schedule II controlled substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to obtain, sell, or take the drug without a valid prescription. Morphine is marketed under many trade names, including Avinza, Kadian, Oramorph, Roxanol, and Kapanol. When purchased illegally on the street, it is usually sold as heroin.

If you or someone you know needs more information about morphine addiction treatment options, our treatment specialists are available to help.


The street names for morphine include Miss Emma, monkey, morph, and white stuff.


Morphine was first isolated from opium by a German chemist in 1803. He named the substance after the Greek god Morpheus. For decades, morphine was sold over the counter and cost less to buy than alcohol. In 1848, the invention of the hypodermic needle allowed morphine to be injected directly into the bloodstream, solidifying the drug’s usefulness for surgery. Use and abuse of the drug was so widespread that the United States took the global lead in regulating all opium-based narcotics in the early 1900s.

Various Causes for Drug Abuse

Legitimate users of morphine start taking the drug for pain management. Morphine is either administered to them in a hospital setting for acute pain, such as the pain resulting from childbirth or surgery, or it is prescribed to them for severe chronic pain.

People who use the drug recreationally do so for the drug’s euphoric properties. Morphine and its heroin derivative produce an altered mental state. Users experience a high that allows them to interact with their environment in different ways. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings are all experienced in new ways, creating an individual reality that is divorced from the real world. Users take the drug to feel good.

Both categories of users are at high risk of dependency and addiction. Professional morphine addition treatment is often the only way an addicted person can kick the morphine habit. If you are addicted to morphine, professional treatment is available to help you kick the habit.

Ways it can be Used and Abused

Morphine is packaged in a wide variety of ways. It is available in hospital settings as a drip or pump that a recovering person can control when feeling pain. It is also available as pills, liquids and suppositories.

People who abuse morphine recreationally often take it intravenously, if the drug has been processed into heroin. Straight morphine is typically sold on the street in pill form. Abusers crush the pills and snort or inject them. The effects of morphine can typically last up to six hours, depending upon how the drug is administered. Unfortunately these effects often have negative consequences, so it is important that morphine addiction treatment is sought.


Doctors who want to prescribe morphine must register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. A doctor who seems to be abusing his or her authority to write prescriptions can be criminally prosecuted.

What Does Being High Feel Like?

The reason that the illegal drug market converts morphine to heroin is to increase the fat solubility of the drug. Heroin is more easily absorbed by the body, producing a euphoric rush that is more potent than what the user experiences with morphine. Even though the ultimate effects of heroin and morphine are the same when the brain converts the heroin back into its original form, the high is different. People who are chasing a high prefer morphine that has been converted to heroin.

Morphine does produce a significant high on its own that is sufficient for many abusers. The drug induces happiness and relieves anxiety. Users feel dreamy, drowsy, and at peace. These effects can last from four to six hours, depending upon how the drug was administered.


A medical professional who is caught abusing morphine faces additional consequences. The person will likely lose his or her current job, but it may also be impossible to find another job in the medical industry. There may be no way to recoup the money and time spent on extensive medical education and training.

Potential Dangers Associated with Using and Mixing

Morphine addicted women holding hands on the headMorphine use is dangerous, particularly for people who obtain the drug illegally on the street. Street drugs come with no guarantee of purity. Undesirable substances can be added to the drug without the buyer’s knowledge. Often, street drugs are produced and packaged in contaminated environments, resulting in infections and diseases. Morphine addiction treatment is important because recreational users who procure morphine illegally are at high risk of overdose or death from uncontrollable variables.

Addicts rarely abuse morphine alone. Some combine morphine and cocaine, which can be a particularly deadly combination. The two drugs work in different areas of the brain, causing extreme disorientation. Of course, both drugs are habit-forming, increasing the need for professional cocaine and morphine addiction treatment.

A morphine addict is also more likely to commit crimes to support his or her habit. Even those people who started off with a legal morphine prescription will often engage in illegal activities to feed their habits. Drug-seeking behavior can encompass anything from forged prescriptions to prostitution to armed robbery.

The Detoxification Process

Medical professionals often recommend supervised morphine detox for anyone who is dependent or addicted to the drug. Opiate withdrawal symptoms are rarely life-threatening, but they are very uncomfortable. The severity of withdrawal often depends on the level of abuse and the length of time the user has been taking the drug. People who are addicted to multiple drugs or have been abusing morphine at high doses for prolonged periods should seriously consider medically supervised morphine detox.

In a medical facility, doctors can slowly taper down the amount of morphine the user is taking. Further, withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated with certain medications that block opioid receptors. Methadone and buprenorphine are two drugs that are typically prescribed during morphine detox.


The yearly statistics concerning deaths from morphine overdose are hard to determine. Heroin presents as morphine in drug panels. Most often, the cause of death is listed as opiate overdose, which would include morphine, heroin, codeine, and other drugs in this class.

Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Options

Detoxification alone cannot help a morphine addict recover. Detox is merely the first step in breaking the cycle of addiction. To ensure a complete recovery and guard against relapse, the user must learn new behaviors, break old ways of thinking, and develop the willpower to resist temptation.

Inpatient residential therapy over the course of 90 days is the gold standard of morphine addiction treatment. Although other options are available, the pervasive nature of morphine addiction typically requires an extended stay in a structured environment. Residential treatment facilities offer individual counseling with a licensed psychologist and a therapeutic platform of related activities to modify behavior and ensure a successful transition to complete sobriety.

Each residential treatment facility will offer its own treatment methodology that may include alternative therapies, life skills development, and aftercare approaches. Many will start the resident on a 12-step program that can be continued when his or her stay in the facility is over. It is important to find the right facility to meet the needs of the individual involved. If you need advice or assistance in choosing the best morphine addiction treatment option, call our national referral helpline at to speak to a treatment advisor or fill out a contact form on the website. Our help is free and confidential.

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