Morphine is an opiate, derived from the poppy plant. It is classified as a narcotic and is commonly prescribed to manage pain.
What does it look like?
Morphine is commonly available in the form of a tablet, syrup, injection or as a suppository. Depending on its form, morphine may be injected, swallowed, or even smoked.
How is it used?
Morphine is often used before or after surgery to alleviate severe pain. Morphine and other opioids act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When these compounds attach to certain opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, they can effectively change the way a person experiences pain.
What are its short-term effects?
Morphine affects regions of the brain that mediate what we perceive as pleasure, resulting in initial feelings of euphoria. Morphine can also produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and, depending upon the amount taken, depress breathing. Taking a large single dose could cause severe respiratory depression, coma or death.
What are its long-term effects?
Long-term use of morphine also can lead to physical dependence. This can also include tolerance and addiction. Individuals taking prescribed opioid medications should be given these medications under appropriate medical supervision and should be supervised when discontinuing use to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
What is its federal classification?
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)