Morphine is an opiate that naturally occurs in the opium poppy. The drug has very strong analgesic effects and is widely prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Morphine is found abundantly in opium poppy plants and accounts for about twenty percent of the dry weight of the opium poppy. Because this is one of the two naturally occurring analgesic drugs found in the opium poppy and it makes up the largest percentage of the alkaloids in the plant, morphine is often synthesized to create codeine as well.
The company Merck was first to commercially produce and market morphine but today the drug is marketed under a number of different brand names.
Some of the more common brand names of morphine include:
- MS Contin
- Morphine Sulphate
Morphine is most widely available on the street in the form of pills but may also be found in liquid forms too. There are oral formulations which can be taken by mouth as well as injectable formulations which are injected intravenously or intramuscularly to reduce pain.
Morphine pills of the MS Contin brand are red in color and may be called red rockets on the streets. There are many different street names for morphine in addition to those referring to the tiny red pills including:
- Miss Emma
- White Stuff
In the medical field, morphine is used in the treatment of severe pain or moderately severe pain. The powerful analgesic qualities of morphine are the primary reason why the drug is commonly used following surgical procedures, accidents and severe injuries as well as chronic pain associated with cancer or other diseases.
Morphine may also be prescribed during labor for the treatment of myocardial infarction also known as labor pains. Because morphine is an opiate which tends to have a common opiate side effect of causing constipation, the drug is sometimes prescribed to stop diarrhea associated with cholera or other severe diarrhea causing conditions.
Morphine is a highly dangerous drug that has a very strong likelihood of causing addiction if it is used regularly. Morphine addiction can develop in a relatively short period of time. In fact, many people who are prescribed morphine in the hospital will begin to feel the symptoms of opiate withdrawal when they leave the hospital not realizing that their body had already developed a tolerance to the drug in the short period of time during which they were taking it in a hospital setting, perhaps following a surgical procedure or injury.
Most often, treatment for morphine addiction will include gradual reduction of the drug to reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Counseling and therapy is also recommended to help prevent future use and to provide support for any underlying conditions which may be at the heart of the substance abuse problem.