Morphine is the principal constituent of opium and can range in concentration from 4 to 21 percent. Commercial opium is standardized to contain 10-percent morphine. In the United States, a small percentage of the morphine obtained from opium is used directly (about 15 tons): the remaining is converted to codeine and other derivatives (about 120 tons). Morphine is one of the most effective drugs known for the relief of severe pain and remains the standard against which new analgesics are measured. Morphine is marketed under generic and brand name products including "MS-Contin®," Oramorph SR®," MSIR®," Roxanol®," Kadian®," and RMS®." Morphine is marketed in a variety of forms, including oral solutions, immediate and sustained-release tablets and capsules, suppositories, and injectable preparations.
Morphine is highly addictive. Tolerance (the need for higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect) and physical and psychological dependence develop quickly. Morphine activates the brains reward systems. The promise of reward is very intense, causing the individual to crave the drug and to focus his or her activities around taking it. The ability of morphine to strongly activate brain reward mechanisms and its ability to chemically alter the normal functioning of these systems can produce an addiction.
A Morphine overdose happens when you consume more Morphine than your body can safely handle. Morphine users are constantly flirting with Morphine overdose, and the difference between the high they're seeking and serious injury or death is often quite small.
Symptoms of a Morphine overdose include:
- cold clammy skin
- flaccid muscles fluid in the lungs
- lowered blood pressure
- "pinpoint" or dilated pupils
- slowed breathing
- difficulty breathing
- slow pulse rate
- bluish colored fingernails and lips
- spasms of the stomach and/or intestinal tract