Morphine is a relatively cheap drug, but that does not mean it is within the budgets of many individuals living in poverty. In a 2013 article entitled “Morphine Kills Pain but Its Price Kills Patients,” Inter Press Service News Agency reports that in Zimbabwe a bottle of 60 ten-milligram morphine pills costs the equivalent of 18 loaves of bread. Many African countries like Zimbabwe have unemployment rates of well over 50 percent, and such a steep price makes the drug inaccessible to those who need it. While Zimbabwe was allocated 11.25kg of the controlled drug morphine, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe reports that only 3.6kg were used in 2012.
Price makes abuse of and addiction to morphine unlikely in poorer countries or among impoverished populations. According to the International Narcotics Control Board, 90% of all morphine is available in wealthy countries. Low rates of use are not limited to morphine, as all painkillers are infrequently used in Africa. This is the result of the price of the drug and medical stigmas against the use of these potentially addictive substances. Doctors prefer to treat the causes of pain while ignoring the pain itself, as they are taught that morphine is dangerous and addictive.
Caution over prescribing and using morphine is important, as this drug can be dangerous when misused or taken without a doctor’s supervision. While avoiding use of the drug due to fear of addiction can lead to suffering in chronically ill patients in Africa, wealthier countries could be more judicious when it comes to prescribing powerful painkillers. Painkiller addiction is a growing problem in the United States, and these addictions do often begin with a prescription. Both African under-use and American overuse of morphine comes from a lack of knowledge about the drug. Understanding the powerful potential of painkillers, both for good and bad, can allow the drug to be used safely while reducing risks of addiction.
Understanding morphine, painkillers and addiction treatment options can allow you to put an end to morphine abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please talk with one of our admissions coordinators today. We are here 24 hours a day to connect you to the best treatment options for your unique situation, and all phone services are free. Break free from addiction to this powerful drug; call today.