Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and even smaller towns like Palmer Lake are all dealing with the opioid epidemic that’s gripping not just Colorado, but all of the U.S. Colorado has made some strides in reducing the number of opioid deaths related to prescription drugs in the past year, but it still remains a serious and very scary problem. There are many different opioids, some of which are prescription painkillers, and then there’s also heroin, which is an illegal street drug. One drug that’s an opioid and is highly addictive is morphine. Below we’ll cover the details of what morphine is, and why it’s addictive.
What is Morphine?
Morphine is an opiate pain reliever that’s derived directly from opium. It does have applications in medicine, usually to help with pain following surgery or pain related to cancer, but unfortunately, it also has a potential for abuse, and it’s frequently used recreationally.
There are different brand names of morphine which include MS-Contin, Kadian, and Roxanol, among others. The street names for the drug include God’s Drug, Dreamer and First Line.
This powerful opioid is considered one of the most potent pain relievers available, and it comes not only in different brand names but also different forms including as a liquid, tablets, and in an injectable form. It’s classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it’s a highly regulated drug that’s used medically but also that has a potential for abuse and addiction.
When someone takes morphine, it’s intended to block the sensation of pain, and it does this by slowing the functions of the central nervous system. Some of the functions slowed by the use of morphine include the heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Along with these effects, morphine can create a feeling of euphoria or general well-being, and it can be calming and relaxing to people, which are some of the reasons it’s addictive.
This narcotic analgesic is something that should only be used under the strict supervision of a physician because of the risks associated with it, including addiction.
The state of Colorado and doctors in Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and other locations have been encouraged to screen patients before providing them with opioid painkillers. Some of the things they should consider include whether or not there are other options that may treat the patient’s pain, as well as their individual and family history of substance abuse.
Is Morphine Addictive?
Questions people often have about morphine include whether or not it’s addictive. So can you get addicted to morphine? Yes, absolutely and many people in Colorado and nationwide do struggle with an addiction to this drug. In fact, morphine is considered incredibly addictive.
As with other opioids, when someone takes morphine it binds to certain receptors in their brain, and then their reward circuits are activated, along with the pathways that control pain sensations. When this happens, your brain is flooded with dopamine and starts to see the stimulus that led to that as something that should be sought out again and again. Morphine and opioids like it change the way your brain’s messengers are produced and distributed, and you feel like you’re happy when you take it. Extremely happy in fact.
Unfortunately, that flood of dopamine changes your brain in a way that contributes to addiction, and it’s also difficult to achieve that feeling again as you build a tolerance to morphine or any other opioid. When you have a tolerance to opioids, it may lead you to take higher doses to achieve the desired effects, and that can increase the likelihood of an overdose.
Signs that you may be addicted to morphine include an obsession with it or intense cravings for the drug, doctor shopping to get more of it or to get prescriptions for other opioids, and continuing to use it even when negative consequences occur.
You’re more likely to become addicted to morphine if you’ve struggled with addiction in the past or you use it for a prolonged period, but anyone can become addicted, and that’s something that’s important to understand. Even after just taking it for a couple of weeks some people have said they’ve become addicted to morphine and other opioids.
What Makes Morphine Addictive?
The way your brain responds to morphine and opioids, in general, is what makes them addictive. Even if you take morphine as prescribed by your doctor, your brain may start to change the way it functions and in essence rewiring itself to continue drug seeking behaviors. Your brain is wired to want to repeat whatever leads to positive feelings and triggers the reward system, and in the case of morphine, it’s the drug that created those good feelings.
Along with an addiction, another concern with the use of morphine is physical dependence. Physical dependence can occur with or without a psychological addiction, and it can occur after only a few doses of the drug. With physical dependence, your body becomes used to the presence of the drug, and when you try to stop taking it, you go into a type of shock, which can lead to withdrawal.
Some of the symptoms of morphine withdrawal include cramps and nausea, runny nose, teary eyes, chills, insomnia, dizziness, sweating, muscle aches and more.
What’s important to realize is that while morphine is highly addictive, if you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, there are treatment options. Whether you’re in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, or a smaller location in Colorado like Palmer Lake, it’s important to seek help because a morphine addiction can very quickly destroy almost every aspect of your life. The longer you use morphine, the more likely you are to abuse other opioids like heroin, and the more damage you do to your brain, your body, your relationships and your life.