Morphine is the oldest opioid painkiller. Although it has relieved pain since the nineteenth century, abusing it can cause addiction and health problems. Taking tranquilizer drugs in combination with morphine poses a serious risk of deadly overdose.
The term “tranquilizer” really describes how a drug is used, rather than the chemical properties of the drug or the precise ways in which it reacts with the body. A drug that is considered a tranquilizer slows down body processes and tends to calm the user’s mood.
Major tranquilizers are more often called antipsychotic drugs today. They are used to treat major mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. They include haloperidol and Chlorpromazine. Antipsychotics are not commonly abused.
Minor tranquilizers are commonly prescribed as sleep aids or antianxiety medications in addition to other uses. Barbiturates and methaqualone are in this group but are now seldom prescribed. Benzodiazepines achieve similar results with less risk. A newer class of medication called nonbenzodiazepines is also in this category.
Every tranquilizer is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The vital involuntary actions of the body, such as pumping blood, and semi-voluntary actions, such as breathing, are regulated by the central nervous system. A CNS depressant slows down these processes.
Morphine is also a kind of CNS depressant. The danger of a deadly overdose from morphine by itself is relatively small. Even a large quantity of morphine is unlikely to depress the CNS so much that breathing stops. Morphine only works on one aspect of the system that keeps these actions going.
Tranquilizers, however, work on other aspects of the CNS to depress its actions. Taking two kinds of CNS depressants together, such as morphine and a tranquilizer, means the central nervous system is depressed in more than one way. There may quickly be no biological process active enough to keep breathing and circulation moving. The heart may simply stop.
Even if the morphine and tranquilizer combination does not prove to be deadly, it can cause severe amnesia. Whole weeks can go by and generate no lasting memory due to a morphine and tranquilizer combination.
Abusers of morphine may add tranquilizers to their experience for one of the following several reasons.
The tranquilizers most likely to cause problems are benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Antipsychotic drugs are not often used recreationally. Barbiturates and methaqualone are rare since they have mostly been replaced by the less dangerous benzodiazepines.
Whether it is an inpatient rehab center, mutual aid group or consultation with a doctor, anyone who uses these drugs in combination should seek some kind of help. Call our toll-free helpline to learn about options for treatment. Counselors are available to take your call 24 hours a day.