Morphine is one of the most well-known painkillers on the planet. It’s a standard painkiller used in hospitals because its effects are reliable and effective for many different types of pain.
Unfortunately, it’s also highly addictive.
Often times, patients will enter the hospital for a traumatic injury — like a broken bone or surgery — for which they’re treated with morphine to manage symptoms. By the time they leave, their given an extended-release morphine prescription to manage their pain while they recover over the next couple of weeks.
In most cases, the morphine will be weaned off quickly and replaced with less potent and addictive drugs like acetaminophen or aspirin.
After a few weeks, if morphine use is continued, the user will begin forming a tolerance to the drug — prompting them to take higher doses of the medication in order to get the same level of relief.
If this continues, they become addicted to the drug — experiencing a range of negative side effects if they don’t take the drug.
Morphine addiction can be very severe, leading to gradually increasing doses of the drug, risking overdose and death.