Men and Morphine Abuse

Men and Morphine Abuse

Morphine, the most abundant opiate in opium poppy, is a potent pain medication used by doctors, but its narcotic compounds also make it a commonly abused drug. When addiction or dependence develops, users experience several potential side effects, including the following:

  • Mental impairments such as confusion and memory lapses
  • Physical health risks including seizures, heart problems and respiratory collapse
  • General discomforts like nausea, vomiting, headaches, itching and constipation

Illicit drug use is more common in men than women, though the variance in gender-related use is much narrower for prescription drugs. Nevertheless, research shows that morphine affects men in unique ways, and it can influence substance abuse problems.

Gender Differences in Morphine Use

Considerable gender differences exist when it comes to the use of morphine and other opioids. For starters, a difference in effect was found in several studies, including the following:

  • A 1996 Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics study found that men have significantly more sensitivity to morphine than women
  • The Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics authors added that increased sensitivity suggests greater “abuse liability” for opioid drugs
  • Findings published in a 2003 Anesthesia & Analgesia journal article suggest women need 30% more morphine to achieve the same effects as men
  • A 2002 Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior article discovered that men with morphine dependence have a longer and more severe withdrawal syndrome

While these studies show differences in morphine-related effects, others note the gender differences in use, including the following:

  • Men are more likely to use illicit drugs and develop a substance abuse problem per a 2006 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) study
  • A 2010 Addictive Behaviors journal article noted that men are more likely to obtain prescription opioids for free from family and friends or to buy them from a dealer
  • Men have higher rates of illicit prescription drug use (2.6% vs. 2.2% past month; 21.9% vs. 18% lifetime) per the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)

There are also common gender differences in the impact of drug abuse. A 1999 Psychiatric Clinics of North America article reports that drug abuse among men is more commonly associated with diminished career paths, criminal consequences and antisocial personality disorders.

Prescription Painkiller Statistics

A 2013 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) addressed the 14,800 prescription painkiller deaths that occurred in the US in 2008. According to the study, for every one death, there were other painkiller-related events, including the following:

  • 10 treatment admissions for painkiller abuse
  • 32 medical emergencies related to misuse or abuse
  • 130 users who were addicted or dependent
  • 825 people who used painkillers illicitly

The report added that, for 2010, the number of first-time recreational users was nearly 5,500 each day. Accordingly, prescription drugs are now the leading culprits in overdose deaths.

Morphine Addiction Treatment for Men

Do not let yourself become a statistic. Treatment centers can provide a variety of effective services, including the following:

  • Morphine detoxification in a relaxed setting with medical supervision
  • Integrated treatment for concurrent mental health issues and personality disorders
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that promotes healthier thought patterns and conduct
  • Counseling to help patients better handle triggers that motivate opiate cravings
  • Group therapy to share experiences and provide mutual support

Rehabilitation centers can also offer holistic and non-opioid treatments to address any ongoing pain issues.

Drug Abuse Helpline

Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak with one of our admissions coordinators. We can answer questions about treatment options and methods, and if you have health insurance, we can even check your policy for coverage. Please call now.