Morphine Sulfate: Uses, Side Effects, Abuse, & Addiction

Those who participate in morphine abuse may experience serious side effects, including a risk of overdose and addiction. Because morphine is a strong opioid drug, those who engage in long-term morphine use may require addiction treatment.

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Morphine is an opiate derived from the opium poppy. This painkiller has been in use since 1805 and is highly addictive.

Historical accounts of morphine addiction in the United States go back to the mid-19th century, when recovering Civil War soldiers began to experience physical dependency after using morphine for pain relief.

How Morphine Affects The Brain And Body

Opioids like morphine affect the brain by interacting with opioid receptors and triggering the central nervous system’s reward center.

This interaction causes increased dopamine levels, which initiate the feelings of euphoria that people generally associate with an opioid high.

With continued morphine use, the brain loses its ability to function normally without morphine.

Forms Of Morphine

Morphine is sold as a pill with an extended release and immediate release from. It can also be taken orally, as a liquid, or administered through an IV or as a suppository.

Morphine Side Effects

Morphine causes various side effects. Generally, the side effects of prescribed morphine use are minimal, but there are rare cases of more severe side effects, including seizures.

The side effects of morphine can include:

  • drowsiness
  • stomach cramps
  • dry mouth
  • mood swings
  • nervousness
  • problems urinating
  • pain when urinating
  • blue or purple skin
  • hallucinations
  • fever, sweating
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abnormal periods
  • seizures
  • rash
  • hives
  • swelling of the face
  • breathing problems

Methods Of Morphine Abuse

There are a few different methods of morphine abuse.


Oral morphine abuse usually involves using morphine pills without a prescription or taking a larger dose than prescribed.


People use snorting as a method of abuse by crushing morphine pills into powder and snorting it for a more immediate, intense high.


People use injection as a method of abuse by dissolving the powder from morphine pills in water and injecting the liquid into a vein.

Street Names For Morphine

The street names for morphine include:

  • m
  • Miss Emma
  • monkey
  • white Stuff
  • dreamer
  • ensel
  • first line
  • god’s drug
  • hows
  • mister blue
  • morf
  • morpho
  • unkie

Signs Of Morphine Addiction

There are some common signs of Morphine addiction.

Common signs of morphine abuse include:

  • broken sleep
  • drowsiness
  • problems concentrating
  • constipation
  • sexual dysfunction
  • speech problems
  • hallucinations
  • doctor shopping
  • spending money on morphine even if you can’t afford it
  • driving or taking other risks after taking the drug
  • problems at work or school
  • lack of motivation
  • weight loss
  • lack of self grooming
  • being secretive
  • drastic behavior changes
  • money problems

Risks Of Morphine Abuse

There are both short-term and long-term risks of morphine abuse.

Short-term risks

There are several short-term risks of morphine abuse.

The short-term risks of morphine abuse include:

  • physical dependence
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • itchy skin
  • high blood pressure

Long-term risks

There are several long-term risks of morphine abuse.

The long-term risks of morphine abuse include:

  • overdose
  • death
  • increased chronic pain
  • tolerance
  • breathing issues
  • stiff muscles
  • hormonal imbalance
  • immunosuppression
  • involuntary muscle spasms
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • heart attack
  • increased risk of broken bones
  • long term constipation

Morphine Detection Windows

Drug tests can be used to detect opiates like morphine. The detection windows for morphine vary based on the type of sample taken, the extent of the individual’s drug use, and numerous other factors.


A urine drug test can detect morphine for one to three days after use. This is the most common form of drug test.


A drug test based on saliva will only detect morphine if the person used it during the past 24 to 48 hours.


Morphine metabolites can be detected in blood up to 48 hours after use. This kind of drug test is usually performed in a hospital setting.

Hair Follicle

Signs of morphine use can be found in a hair follicle for up to three months after use, but it takes around 30 days from the first use for the drug to be detectable in a hair follicle.

Morphine Withdrawal Symptoms

Morphine withdrawal can be severe and result in a combination of physical and psychological symptoms.

The symptoms of Morphine withdrawal include:

  • cravings
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • inability to sleep
  • anxiety
  • sweating
  • hot and cold flashes
  • muscle cramps
  • watery eyes and nose
  • diarrhea
  • muscle spasms
  • sleeping problems
  • feeling sick
  • fatigue

No one should go through morphine withdrawal alone, as dangerous symptoms do occur in some cases.

Signs Of A Morphine Overdose

A morphine overdose is an emergency situation that can result in death.

If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of a potential overdose, call 911 immediately and administer Narcan (naloxone), if available.

The signs of morphine overdose include:

  • shallow breathing
  • drowsiness
  • seizures
  • itching
  • flushed skin
  • pupils that don’t react
  • wheezing
  • low blood pressure
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • quick to anger
  • a feeling of unease
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • nightmares

Morphine Addiction Treatment Options

There are several effective inpatient and outpatient morphine addiction treatment options.


There are several methods used for opioid detox, including:

  • stopping the drug immediately without medication to help with the side effects of withdrawal
  • detoxing under the supervision of a medical professional who administers medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • using alternative medicines such as methadone or Suboxone to prevent withdrawal and minimize the risks of drug abuse


In-depth therapy, when combined with recovery medications, can help someone reach long-term recovery by addressing the root causes of addiction as well as other co-occurring disorders.

Behavioral health therapy and counseling for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders are often an important part of opioid treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a treatment approach used by licensed healthcare providers that combines medications with therapy.

MAT decreases opioid use, opioid overdoses, and opioid death. MAT also increases the chance someone will stay in treatment and offers improved outcomes for pregnant people who are living with an opioid addiction.


Aftercare is a service that is provided by a treatment center that helps those recovering from morphine addiction to adjust to everyday life after getting through the beginning of treatment.

Aftercare is provided in several ways, including:

  • check-ups
  • individual therapy sessions
  • group counseling sessions
  • phone counseling sessions

Get Treatment For An Opiate Addiction Today

While it may seem impossible, you or a loved one can recover from a prescription drug addiction.

Contact our team at Bedrock Recovery Center today to learn more about how we can help you recover from a substance use disorder.

  1. American Family Physician
  2. Arkansas Takeback
  3. Cleveland Clinic
  4. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  7. National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  8. National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  9. National Library Of Medicine
  10. National Library Of Medicine: Medline Plus
  11. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
  12. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
  13. National Library Of Medicine: StatPearls,of%20acute%20and%20chronic%20pain.
  14. National Library Of Medicine: StatPearls,dyspnea%2C%20wheezing%20and%20frothy%20sputum
  15. Science Direct
  16. Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Updated on: October 2, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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