Morphine belongs to the class of medications called narcotic analgesics (pain relievers). It is usually prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The dried latex produced by the seed pod of the opium poppy, known as poppy tears, contains approximately 12 percent of morphine. This latex can also be processed into heroin and other synthetic medical drugs or street drugs.
Morphine comes in tablet form, capsules, granules that dissolve in water and drank, also as suppositories and injections. Morphine tablets can be ground for snorting or injections.
The effects of morphine generally last for about 4 hours. Although some morphine tablets and capsules have a slow-release action and can produce an effect for about 12 to 24 hours.
Increased tolerance to its effect is one of the reasons people get addicted to it. The body becomes accustomed (or tolerant) to a morphine dose so people taking morphine for some period of time may require increasing amounts to get the same effect. Morphine has a high addictive potential and can be obtained illegally.
Other street names for morphine include:
- Mister blue
- God’s drug
- Miss Emma
- Aunt Emma
- White stuff
- white lady
Morphine Side Effects
Here are a few of the side effects that morphine can produce:
- feeling and being sick
- dizziness and vertigo (a sensation of spinning)
- feeling sleepy
- itchiness and rash
Morphine can slow or stop breathing and is known to be habit-forming. Overdose or death can occur with its misuse.
Since morphine crosses the placental barrier, taking it during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby.
The minimum dose of 200 mg of morphine is lethal to the average person. In case of extreme physical sensitivity, 60 mg can cause permanent impairment, coma, or bring sudden death. Amounts of 2000–3000 mg per day can be tolerated by an individual who has a serious drug dependency.
Long-term Effects of Morphine
These are some long-term side effects of using morphine. Get to a hospital as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Altered heartbeat rates
- Chest pain
- Liver damage
- Infertility in women
- Hives, rash, and itching
- Swelling of the throat and face
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Withdrawal from morphine can last up to three days and causes these effects;
- spaced-out state,
- muscle twitches,
- muscle pain and cramps,
- loss of appetite,
- severe depression and
Signs of overdose can quickly appear. What may seem to be the regular effects of the drug can turn rapidly into an overdose. Abuse of morphine with the combination of alcohol will increase and intensify its effects putting the person’s life at risk.
Here are the most common signs of overdose:
- clammy skin
- cold skin
- pinpoint pupils
- extreme somnolence (sleepiness)
- reduced blood pressure
- severe respiratory depression
- slow and shallow breathing