Morphine Abuse Rates in Australia

Morphine Abuse Rates in Australia

Used to treat severe pain, morphine is a prescription drug derived from the same plants as heroin. Because the drug is a narcotic, many people use it recreationally, a practice that can easily cause an addiction. According to the International Narcotics Control Board report for 2012, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants remain the most commonly abused drugs in Australia, but abuse of opiates like morphine remains a sizable problem.


The Australian Institute of Criminology’s “Drug use monitoring in Australia: 2009–10 report on drug use among police detainees” features the following data on adult drug use:

  • 19% of detainees reported illicit prescription drug use at least once in the previous year
  • 19% of the detainees caught with prescription drugs were carrying morphine
  • Diazepam (41%) and alprazolam (24%) were the only prescription drugs found more often than morphine

The United Nation’s World Drug Report from 2012 provides the following data related to opiates:

  • Australia and New Zealand have the second highest rate of opium abuse at 2.3% to 3.4%
  • 40% of drug-related deaths in Australia for 2010 involved opiates
  • Non-medical use of pharmaceuticals in Australia jumped to 4.2% in 2010, up half a point from three years earlier

While Australians abuse other drugs, morphine abuse is considerably dangerous and can lead to many health problems.

Effects of Injecting Morphine

In a 2006 report, the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) looked at drug injection trends and found the following data:

  • 46% of regular injecting drug users (IDU) reported morphine use in 2004
  • Morphine injection is commonly associated with the abuse of multiple drugs
  • Morphine injections were often motivated by an inability to acquire heroin
  • 38% of the recent morphine IDUs reported dependence as the most common harm

NDARC studies on IDUs from 2010 and 2011 produced the following recent data:

  • Morphine is the most commonly injected pharmaceutical drug at 41%
  • 9% of the IDUs named morphine as their drug of choice
  • 17% named morphine as the last drug they injected
  • 16% named morphine as the drug they injected most often in the past month
  • 43% reported using non-prescription morphine in the prior six months
  • Tasmania and the Northern Territory had the highest percentage of morphine IDUs

Morphine use may be in decline in Australia, but its current abuse rates still show alarming problems.

Treating Morphine Addiction

Morphine abuse can lead to addiction and dependence and produce side effects like nausea, shakes, tremors, heart attack, stroke, seizures, convulsions and overdose. Regardless of the opiate someone abuses, professional rehab helps break an addiction with any of the following treatment methods:

  • Tapered detox to wean an opiate from the body
  • Integrated treatment for any co-occurring mental health issue
  • Therapies to promote more positive thought processes and behaviors
  • Counseling to address substance abuse triggers and cues
  • Holistic options to treat chronic pain and withdrawal symptoms
  • Group therapy to express ideas, experiences and emotions

Rehab centers exist around the world, including first-rate treatment facilities in Australia and the US.

Morphine Abuse Helpline

Call our toll-free helpline to discuss the many options for morphine treatment, including overseas care. If you have health insurance, our counselors can also check your policy for rehab benefits. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline, so please call now for instant support.