How Do I Know If Someone Is On Morphine?

Morphine is a drug that’s used to treat pain and is classified as an analgesic opiate. It’s used as a prescription pain relief treatment option, but it’s also used recreationally. Even when people are prescribed to morphine, it does carry a chance of addictiveness and physical dependence.

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Answering the question of how to know if someone is on morphine or abusing this opioid can be important because misuse of this drug is not only dangerous but is also relatively prevalent. Research shows that the abuse of opioid prescription drugs is on the rise throughout the U.S., and in many places, it’s being described as an epidemic.

Morphine is derived from the poppy plant and is used for clinical purposes for pain management, primarily in instances of post-surgery recovery or terminal cancer.

It can also be used clinically in situations where there is a significant trauma or injury that occurs, and brand names of morphine include MSiR, MS-Contin, and Roxanol, among others.

Legally, morphine is classified as a Schedule I drug in the U.S.

This narcotic drug can be taken as an extended-release medication, and it’s not intended for use on an as-needed basis. Morphine can be taken by mouth in the form of a tablet or syrup, but the most common way it’s given is by injection.

When someone takes morphine, they feel a euphoric rush, which is the case with most opioids, and then they will tend to move in and out of being awake and then drowsy or periods of nodding off.

One of the biggest dangers of being on morphine, including if you take it as instructed by a doctor, is the potential for tolerance to build quickly. People who take morphine are warned that tolerance can develop within just a few doses of starting the drug, and it’s something to be very cautious of for people on morphine.

Signs someone is on morphine and has developed a tolerance includes taking higher doses than what they’re prescribed for and also taking it more often.

If someone is on morphine recreationally, they will have to take higher doses to achieve the euphoric rush or high that comes with use of this prescription painkiller.

Regardless of whether someone is on morphine because they’re prescribed to it, or they’re abusing the drug, there are some potential side effects. These can include situations like extreme drowsiness, slowed heart rate or breathing, sexual problems, nausea, vomiting or dizziness.

Common signs someone is on morphine can include:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Itching

Other common signs someone is using morphine can be:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Nodding off at strange times
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Breathing that’s more shallow than normal

When someone is on morphine, and they have become dependent on it and stop using it whether by choice or because it’s no available, they may go through withdrawal symptoms. Some of the signs someone is on morphine but going through withdrawal include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Tearing of the eyes and a runny nose
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dilated pupils
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps

When someone takes morphine, the short-term effects will usually start to happen anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes after taking it, and they can last for four to six hours.

Most of the above signs someone is on morphine are related to short-term effects, but for people who are long-term or chronic users of morphine, there are other symptoms and side effects that can occur.

Some of the signs someone has been on morphine for a longer period include depression, a suppressed immune system, extreme constipation, restlessness and if the person injects morphine, possible collapsed veins.

If someone is using morphine, whether therapeutically or otherwise, it can be difficult to spot some of the physical symptoms of their use if they’ve become adept at hiding them from the people around them. However, when people are on morphine or other similar opioid prescription drugs, there are often some common behavioral signs that may become apparent.

First, there are finding things such as finding pill bottles, even if they’re not labeled as morphine, finding pills themselves, or syringes. There are many different physical characteristics of brand name morphine, ranging from white capsules to light blue and almost every other conceivable color.

When you’re trying to figure out if someone is on morphine and has an addiction, or is simply using it for pain management, it can be challenging to differentiate, particularly because it is a drug that is so commonly abused.

Some of the general signs of addiction to a drug, including morphine, can include:

  • Having a problem controlling how much morphine is taken or how often
  • Taking the substance longer than is prescribed
  • Wanting to stop using morphine or cutting back but not being able to
  • Spending large amounts of time trying to get morphine
  • Having intense cravings for morphine
  • Losing a sense of responsibility because the use of morphine becomes the user’s top priority
  • Interpersonal relationships suffer as a result of use of the drug
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Continuing to use morphine despite adverse outcomes or dangerous results
  • The situation continues to get worse surrounding the use of morphine

If you want to know if someone is on morphine and also has a problem with it, usually addictions or substance use disorders are characterized by having two to three of the criteria named above. A moderate disorder would include four to five of the above, and a severe problem would include six or more.

If you know someone who is taking morphine with or without a prescription and you’re worried they’re abusing this prescription drug, it’s important to monitor their behavior. People who are on morphine will also often become secretive, absent for unexplained reasons, lack motivation and will display personality changes such as mood swings.

If any of the things named above are red flags that you see, it’s important to contact someone who’s an addiction professional to learn the best course of action.

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