Intravenous morphine use has a high abuse potential, and can cause side effects such as loss of appetite, sedation, constipation, respiratory depression, and collapsed veins.
Morphine injections are available as prescriptions for severe pain relief. Morphine solutions can also be illegally made and injected for a similar purpose. Both forms of morphine injections have potential for drug abuse.
Abusing morphine can lead to opiate addiction, physical dependence, and an increased risk of overdose.
Morphine Injection Abuse
The generic name for morphine solutions is morphine sulfate. Morphine sulfate is available as a generic formulation, as well as in prescription drugs like Infumorph and Duramorph. Morphine solutions are given through subcutaneous injection, or beneath the skin.
The pleasurable effects of morphine, such as euphoria, sedation, and analgesia, make it an appealing target of drug abuse. Prescription morphine sulfate can be abused by not taking the drug as directed, while illicit morphine solutions can be abused for the same purpose.
Morphine pills and tablets can also form a solution when crushed and mixed with water. This is also a form of morphine abuse.
Dangers Of Morphine Injection Abuse
If injecting morphine as directed by your healthcare provider, you may experience adverse effects such as:
- flushed skin
- a loss of appetite
Expecting or nursing mothers experiencing chronic pain should consider that morphine may end up in breast milk, which their infant can ingest through breastfeeding.
When buying morphine solutions from illicit drug dealers, it can be difficult to determine the dose of morphine you are taking. The morphine may be mixed with potent substances such as fentanyl or heroin. A seemingly safe dose may cause a life-threatening drug overdose.
Health Risks To The Injection Site
Injecting morphine can cause side effects at the injection site. Sharing needles with others may increase your risk of contracting bloodborne diseases, such as HIV or hepatitis.
Long-term effects at the injection site may include collapsed veins, bacterial infections, abscesses, bruising, and wound botulism.
Health Risks To The Central Nervous System
Morphine is an opioid agonist that binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). This action slows down your central nervous system, causing sedation and pain relief. In high doses of morphine, your brain may slow to the point that vital functions may start to shut down.
An opioid overdose is characterized by respiratory depression, a state of shallow breathing. Other overdose symptoms include low blood pressure, vomiting and gurgling, a slowed or stopped heart rate, and pinpoint pupils.
The risk of overdose may increase if morphine is mixed with a type of antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), muscle relaxants, or alcohol. The risk of these drug interactions may increase if morphine is taken illicitly.
Treatment For Opioid Analgesic Abuse
Long-term morphine use can lead to physical dependency. Your body may be unable to function without morphine, leading to withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit.
If your health is declining due to continued morphine injection, you may benefit from a professional treatment program.
Opioid addiction treatment programs may offer detox support, behavioral therapy, counseling, dietary supplements, aftercare planning, and other treatment services.
Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center to find out if our opioid use disorder treatment program works for you or your loved one.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.