Morphine is the primary ingredient that is derived from the extracting of sap from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) in order to obtain raw opium. Depending on the refining process used, the concentration of Morphine can range from 4% to 21%. A standard of 10% has been set for the concentration of Morphine in commercial opium (that is, that which is used for manufacturing medications).
Morphine is in the class of drugs known as opiates. It is considered a controlled substance. It comes in tablet or liquid form; often, the liquid form is given to people who are suffering very severe pain, such as cancer patients, because relief is felt more quickly than with a tablet. The liquid form can be swallowed orally or given as an injection.
Why Is Morphine Prescribed?
Morphine is prescribed as a pain relieving drug. It is one of the most effective drugs for this purpose. Morphine can be prescribed for use after surgical procedures, or for pain relief caused from severe injuries or illnesses.
Statistics Relating To Morphine
Although Morphine is one of the most effective drugs for pain relief (it is actually the "yardstick" by which the effectiveness of new analgesics-the medical term for pain reliever is measured), it is highly addictive. For this reason, it is not uncommon to hear of people continuing to take Morphine after there is no longer a medical reason for doing so.
According to addiction recovery specialists, people in the United States, age 12 and older, who took a pain reliever such as Morphine for a non-medical purpose, numbered 16 million in the year 2009. Further, a 2010 study compiled to monitor the future of abuse showed that this was prevalent among teenagers.
Addiction recovery specialists also cite figures from 2006 and 2007 on the abuse of Morphine for non-medical reasons. In the age group for 12-17 years, 144,000 used Morphine for non-medical reasons in 2006, while 142,000 did so in 2007. 19,000 18-25 year old adults did this in 2006 and 21,000 in the same age group did this in 2007. Those persons age 26 or older numbered 134,000 and 131,000 in those years, respectively. Even though there was a slight decline in all stated age groups in 2007, the fact remains that Morphine is still heavily abused.
How Is Morphine Abused
Morphine can be abused in many ways. These can include taking the drug into the body in a manner other than which is should have been. For example, instead of swallowing a pill containing Morphine, the pill is crushed and dissolved in water. This liquid is then injected under the skin or sometimes straight into a vein.
Some abusers skip the crushing and dissolving step. They manage to obtain Morphine that is already in liquid form, and simply draw it up into a syringe. They then use the injection sites mentioned above to introduce the drug into their systems.
Abuse also occurs when too much Morphine is taken or it is taken too frequently. And, again, taking Morphine when there is no medical necessity, as well as providing Morphine to someone who does not actually need it for medical reasons is also examples of abuse.
Morphine acts as a central nervous depressant; this means it "slows down" all body and brain functions. Heart and lung functions are slowed, which can lead to dangerous physical problems. The brain cannot process information as quickly as it should, resulting in slow or even absent reflexes. This can happen even when Morphine is taken in the precise manner in which it was prescribed and for the reason intended.
Abuse of Morphine can lead to emotional and mental problems.
These can include hallucinations or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. In addition, abuse of Morphine can cause a rapid rise in body temperature. If one's fever becomes too high, seizures can occur. Brain damage can also result from one's body temperature becoming dangerously elevated and remaining so for a period of time.
Morphine Abuse Treatment Options
Treatment options for Morphine can include discontinuing use of the prescription drug and switching a patient to non-narcotic pain relievers as soon as pain control is achieved. In addition, there are other pain relievers which do not contain Morphine; these may be prescribed, so that the chance of abuse or addiction is lessened.
Other treatment options include the use of physical therapy to help control pain, or using external pain relief methods, such as the application of heat or ice, or massage. A rehab center also is one of the most successful treatment options as a professionally-trained and licensed staff is on hand for patients.