Opioid Addiction - Drug and Alcohol

Morphine: How Long Does Morphine Stay in Your System & More

How long does morphine stay in your system? We answer this and more questions about morphine abuse in our blog. Opioid abuse is often lethal.

Facts About Morphine, Drug Tests, & More

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

June 15, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Morphine is no exception to the rule that medications may be highly addictive. Morphine is often used in medical situations to relieve pain, but some individuals may become too dependent on it, leading to addiction.

Morphine addiction can be devastating. Opioid abuse can put someone at risk of disease or opioid overdose. When a person is unable to get morphine, they turn to more dangerous opioids like heroin and fentanyl. This puts them at risk of violence, assault, and opioid overdose.

Recognizing the situation is critical, and getting treatment becomes critical. To achieve a safe and effective recovery from morphine addiction, professional aid and support are required. It is critical to get assistance since excellent treatment alternatives are available to help people escape the hold of addiction and reclaim control of their lives.

One of the questions that frequently comes up when discussing treatment for morphine addiction is this: how long does morphine stay in your system?

What Is Morphine?

Morphine, classified as a potent opioid analgesic and narcotic, has a rich heritage of relieving intense pain and addressing acute and chronic pain disorders. This drug, produced from the opium poppy plant, operates on opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, altering the central nervous system and producing its well-known pain-relieving effects.

Renowned for its effectiveness, morphine is a prominent option in pain management, notably beneficial for mitigating severe and persistent pain stemming from surgical procedures, cancer-related conditions, or traumatic injuries. Throughout the centuries, morphine has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness in providing much-needed relief to individuals grappling with severe pain, making it a cornerstone in pain management practices.

Aside from its analgesic properties, morphine also induces a sense of euphoria and sedation. This makes it helpful in managing pain-related anxiety and distress. However, it also carries a high potential for abuse and addiction due to its pleasurable effects.

Morphine is classified as a controlled substance and is strictly regulated.

How Do People Take Morphine?

There are several ways of administering morphine, including intravenous infusions, injections, and oral pills. It is frequently employed in medical settings, including hospitals, to control postoperative pain and palliative care. Although morphine is beneficial, it does have some adverse side effects, such as nausea, constipation, sleepiness, and respiratory depression.

Morphine use requires careful monitoring and individualized dosing to balance the pain relief with the risks associated with its use.

How Long Does Morphine Stay in Your System?

The amount of time morphine and other opioids remain in your system might change based on several variables. These variables include your metabolism (how your body breaks down chemicals), the quantity and frequency of morphine usage, and the route of administration (how you take the medication).

Morphine's half-life, or the time it takes for the body to remove half of the medication, is usually anywhere from two to four hours.

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How Long Does Morphine Show Up on Drug Tests?

The duration that morphine remains detectable in the body can vary depending on the type of drug test conducted. Here is an overview of the typical detection windows for morphine in different testing methods:

Urine Drug Test for Morphine

Morphine is commonly detectable in urine tests for approximately 2 to 3 days following its use. However, in individuals who engage in frequent or heavy morphine use, it may be detectable for a longer duration.

Blood Drug Test for Morphine

Morphine can usually be detected in blood tests within 12 to 24 hours after consumption. Blood tests are useful for identifying recent morphine use.

Saliva Drug Test for Morphine

Morphine can be detected in saliva tests for a shorter time than in urine or blood tests. Typically, it is identifiable within 24 to 48 hours after the most recent usage.

Hair Drug Test for Morphine

Hair follicle tests offer the longest detection window for morphine. This method can detect morphine in hair samples for up to 90 days or even longer, depending on the length of the hair and the testing protocol used. In addition, hair tests are beneficial for detecting past patterns of morphine use.

It is crucial to remember that these are essential parameters, and variances may occur depending on aspects such as metabolism, hydration levels, and the quantity and frequency of morphine usage. Also, various testing facilities and laboratories may have different testing methodologies and sensitivity levels.

Furthermore, if you are using additional opioids or medications in addition to morphine, this might affect the elimination schedule. Therefore, it is advisable to speak with healthcare specialists or testing institutions specializing in drug testing services for reliable and precise data on the detection timing of morphine in different types of drug tests.

Depending on your circumstances and the testing methods' needs, they may supply extensive insights.

What Is the Half-Life of Morphine?

The half-life of morphine refers to the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body. Several factors influence the half-life of morphine, including an individual's metabolism, age, liver function, and method of administration.

On average, the half-life of morphine ranges from 2 to 4 hours. This means that after taking a single dose of morphine, the concentration of the drug in the body decreases by 50% within approximately 2 to 4 hours. To illustrate, if someone consumed 10 milligrams of morphine, around 5 milligrams would remain in their bloodstream after 2 to 4 hours.

It's critical to remember that when determining how long morphine will last, its half-life is just one factor to consider. The half-life offers a general sense of how rapidly a drug is excreted from the body. Still, because active metabolites accumulate over time, the actual duration of action and the amount of pain relief that morphine provides may be longer.

In addition, it's important to understand that the half-life of morphine can differ for extended-release formulations, which are designed to provide sustained pain relief over an extended period. These formulations often have longer half-lives, typically 4 to 15 hours, allowing for prolonged pain management with fewer doses.

To obtain accurate information about the half-life of morphine and its effects, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide personalized guidance based on an individual's circumstances and medical history.

How Long Does It Take Morphine to Take Effect?

When considering morphine from an addiction perspective, the onset of its effects can have significant implications. The rapid onset of morphine's effects contributes to its high potential for abuse and addiction. The speed at which the drug takes effect varies depending on the method of administration:

Intravenous (IV) Injection of Morphine

Injecting morphine intravenously leads to an almost immediate onset of intense euphoria and pain relief. Unfortunately, this rapid and powerful effect can contribute to the addictive nature of the drug, as individuals may seek to recreate this sensation.

Intramuscular (IM) Injection of Morphine

Morphine administered via intramuscular injection takes slightly longer to take effect compared to IV administration, but it still provides a relatively quick onset of pleasurable sensations. Unfortunately, this method can also contribute to addiction due to the rapid delivery of the drug to the brain.

Oral (Tablets, Capsules, and Solutions) Forms of Morphine

When morphine is taken orally, the effects are typically slower to manifest, but the potential for addiction remains. In addition, the delay in onset can lead individuals to consume higher doses or seek faster-acting methods to achieve the desired effects.

Subcutaneous Injection of Morphine

Similar to intramuscular injection, subcutaneous injection provides a relatively quick onset of morphine's effects. Though not as rapid as IV administration, it can still contribute to the addictive cycle by efficiently delivering the drug into the bloodstream.

The euphoric and soothing effects of morphine can take hold quickly, reinforcing addictive tendencies and starting a cycle of rising tolerance, dependence, and cravings. Therefore, it is crucial to approach morphine use with caution and under the supervision of medical professionals to reduce the risk of dependency and its associated repercussions.

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What Are Some Side Effects of Morphine and Morphine Addiction?

Morphine, whether used medically or abused recreationally, can have certain common side effects. These negative impacts might consist of:

Drowsiness and Sedation

Morphine is known to cause sensations of lethargy and sedation, making it challenging for the user to remain aware and concentrate.

Nausea and Vomiting

Using morphine frequently results in nausea and vomiting, particularly in the beginning phases of therapy. It is a typical adverse reaction that is seen with the majority of treatments and pharmaceuticals.


Morphine inhibits intestinal transit, which frequently results in constipation. It is critical to control this side effect to minimize problems before it causes significant damage to the body.

Respiratory Depression

Morphine can slow down breathing, making it shallow and sluggish. This effect can be hazardous if the drug is taken in high doses or combined with other depressants like alcohol.

Itching and Sweating

Some people who use morphine may experience itching and sweating, which can be unpleasant but are often not life-threatening.

Decreased Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Morphine's ability to drop blood pressure and heart rate might lead to fainting and other side effects that can be highly dangerous.

While these side effects are typically associated with the therapeutic use of morphine, morphine addiction can intensify these effects and lead to severe consequences. Morphine addiction occurs when a person develops a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, resulting in compulsive drug-seeking behavior and an inability to control use.

What are the Signs of Morphine Addiction?

Morphine, even when used under the guidance of a physician, can be a risky drug to use. It’s very addictive, and when someone intentionally or unintentionally mixes it with other drugs, it can be deadly.

Drug abuse is less about a particular substance and more about behaviors. Morphine abuse means:

  • Taking a higher dose of morphine than prescribed

  • Using a morphine prescription for longer than prescribed

  • Using another person’s morphine prescription

  • Using morphine for a reason other than it was prescribed for

  • Signs of morphine addiction include:

  • Being unable to stop using morphine

  • Spending time acquiring using, and recovering from morphine

  • Experiencing withdrawal effects from morphine when not using it

  • Having cravings for morphine

  • Continuing to use morphine despite negative outcomes

There’s also ways to spot morphine addiction as well. Here’s what to look for:

  • Financial problems

  • Developing poor hygiene habits

  • Risky behavior

  • Legal problems

  • Withdrawing from friends and family

  • A sudden drop in performance in work or at school

What are the Dangers of Morphine Addiction?

Morphine addiction can be dangerous for a user's life due to several reasons:

Health Risks

Prolonged morphine addiction can lead to serious health complications, such as respiratory failure, cardiovascular problems, and organ damage.

Increased Tolerance

With addiction, tolerance develops, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This dosage escalation further raises the risk of overdose, which can be fatal.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person becomes addicted to morphine, and attempts to stop using or reduce the dosage, withdrawal symptoms can occur. These symptoms, including severe cravings, restlessness, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms, can be distressing and make quitting challenging without proper medical support.

Impaired Functioning

Morphine addiction can impair a person's cognitive abilities, judgment, and coordination, affecting daily functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life. It can interfere with work, education, and personal responsibilities.

Social and Legal Consequences

Morphine addiction can strain relationships, lead to social isolation, and cause financial difficulties. It may also result in legal consequences if the drug is obtained illegally or used without a prescription.

As a result, it's crucial to get assistance if you or someone you're acquainted with is suffering from morphine addiction. In addition to assisting the user in leading a clean and healthy life, professional aid may help with withdrawal symptoms immediately.

Treatment and Recovery for Morphine Addiction

A multifaceted strategy is used to manage morphine addiction to address its social, psychological, and physical manifestations. Here are some typical elements of morphine addiction therapy:

Medical Detoxification

Medical detoxification is frequently the initial stage of treating morphine addiction. The individual's morphine use is progressively weaned down under the guidance of healthcare specialists, and any withdrawal symptoms are handled to provide a secure and comfortable detox process.

Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management are two behavioral treatments that are useful in treating morphine addiction. These treatments assist patients in recognizing and altering negative thought patterns and drug-related behaviors, learning coping mechanisms, and creating support systems.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In some circumstances, morphine addiction rehabilitation may be supported by medication-assisted treatment. When combined with behavioral therapy, drugs like methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone can help lessen cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

Peer Support and Support Groups

Joining a support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART Recovery, may offer essential peer support and a feeling of community throughout the recovery process. Long-term sobriety may be maintained by discussing issues, solutions, and obstacles with those who have gone through similar hardships.

Individualized Treatment Plans

The course of treatment for morphine addiction should be based on the requirements and circumstances of the patient. A personalized treatment plan ensures a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation by considering things like co-occurring mental health disorders, trauma history, and social support.

Aftercare and Ongoing Support

Maintaining sobriety is essential to recovering from morphine addiction, which is a lifetime journey. Continued support and assistance in overcoming obstacles can be obtained through continuing care choices, including outpatient therapy, relapse prevention programs, and routine check-ins with medical specialists.

When battling morphine addiction, seeking expert assistance and direction is crucial. Healthcare professionals, addiction experts, and treatment facilities can offer personalized advice and assistance throughout the rehabilitation process.

As a result, individuals may overcome morphine addiction permanently and have healthier, more fulfilled lives with the help of thorough therapy, support, and dedication to change.

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Do you need advice about morphine? Reach out today.

Morphine Addiction Can Be Deadly. Get Help Today at The Forge Recovery Center

Understanding the dangers of morphine addiction highlights the importance of overcoming dependence and embracing a sober and fulfilling life. However, finding the right treatment center can be a time-consuming process.

The Forge Recovery Center uses evidence-based, effective techniques to free people from morphine addiction. Our compassionate staff makes use of cutting-edge science and proven addiction medicine to help people build healthy, happy lives free of morphine. We happily accept people on drug replacement programs, too.

Morphine addiction can be lethal if untreated. Don’t risk an opioid overdose! Reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today and learn more about our effective morphine treatment program.

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