Despite being considered the most effective painkiller, morphine is considered a highly addictive drug. Morphine addiction researches have proven that this pain medication has a similar addiction potential as heroin, and has been given several different street names such as Duramorph, M, Miss Emma, Monkey, Roxanol, Number 13, Emsel, White Merchandise and White Stuff.
As an effective pain medication, morphine can be injected, swallowed or even smoked. It may come in the form of a capsule, tablet, syrup, paste or as a suppository. When taken, it replaces the painful sensation by giving the user a pleasurable feeling often associated with euphoria. But of course, anything taken without proper medical supervision, and in excessive amounts, leads to drug abuse and addiction. What are the side effects of morphine addiction?
It is a twofold answer - It has both short term and long term effects.
Short term effects include anxiety, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. More severe complications of someone taking excessive morphine dosages are certain allergic reactions, confusion, difficulty urinating, mood swings, fainting, tachy or bradycardia, seizures, shallow breathing, slurred speech, swelling of the body, feeling of fatigue and alterations in vision. Though these are some of the most common complications of morphine abuse, some patients may show other symptoms depending on their drug tolerance. It is suggested that someone experiencing these symptoms immediately consult his physician for treatment.
When morphine is taken through injecting it in the body, researchers reveal that over dosages of morphine may result in cardiac arrest, circulatory depression, tremors, oliguria, urticaria, syncope and hypovolemic shocks. These are just some of the most severe side effects of the drug when abused.
Most common gastrointestinal side effects include constipation, dry mouth, dyspepsia, increased gastroesophageal reflux, intestinal obstruction, nausea, vomiting and increased biliary pressure. Morphine may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi, constriction of the common bile duct such that there is increased intrabiliary pressure and worsened, rather than relieved, biliary colic. Morphine may also cause and decreased gastric emptying and intense but duodenal contraction that is uncoordinated.
Its long term side effects can be attributed to the person's psychological health and if his short term complications have worsened. Psychiatric effects include fearfulness, agitation, paranoia, psychosis, hyper vigilance and hallucinations.
In the 1970s, scientists proved that morphine drug addicts have increased vulnerability to pneumonia, tuberculosis and even HIV, making them postulate that the addiction also causes damage to the body's immune system.
Morphine is rarely available in other countries but is a regular pain medication in six countries - Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the United States. Thus with the privilege of having a very effective drug, comes the responsibility to take care of drug addiction issues. While drug addiction remains a perennial problem in today's society, we cannot but question what the government is doing to reduce if not eradicate such acts of wrongdoing.