Mixing morphine with alcohol

What are the side effects of mixing morphine and alcohol? Can you overdose? And do you put your life in danger? We review here.

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Mixing morphine and alcohol increases the effect of both of these central nervous system depressants. Not only is this type of drug abuse a sign of morphine addiction, mixing the two can put you at risk of respiratory depression or death. Here, we review the possible harms of mixing morphine with alcohol, side effects of co-administration, as well as prognosis and morbidity rates. Your questions about treatments for morphine addiction or  getting help for morphine addiction are invited at the end.

Morphine and alcohol effects

Opiate medications like moprhine SHOULD NEVER be mixed with alcohol. Poly drug use can begin accidentally. But other times, people start drinking and doing drugs simultaneously as an intentional choice. But before you decide to drink and take morphine together, you need to consider their individual effects as well as the interaction between the two substances. Alcohol can trigger the increase of the intensity of morphine’s severe side effects and may even lead to coma or death. In fact, users have reported really strange experiences when taking morphine while they have been drinking.

Let’s say that you drink about 4 beers at the time you take your first dose of morphine. The feeling after the first pill can be very soothing and relaxing, not strong and terrifying as if something dangerous might happen. However, a few hours after administration, a very strong head rush and dizziness can occur. Panic, fear, anxiety, or paranoia can also occur. You will probably have pinpoint pupils and your face can turn pale. Nausea and the strong urge to vomit are also in common when you are mixing alcohol and morphine, but may not be able to vomit at all, only fight with the cramps.

Dangers of mixing morphine and alcohol

On branded morphine tablets, labels warn that morphine is not a suitable pain relief medication for alcoholics, people intoxicated by alcohol at the time of administration, or for use by opioid addicts. When you are taking morphine you need to be that careful that even your food does not contain any amount of alcohol. Why such discretion and warning?

Opiate effects are facilitated by ethanol. In fact, ethanol induces increased morphine metabolism. When alcohol is taken with opiates such as morphine, heroin, codeine or methadone there can be an increase in the CNS (Central nervous system) depressant effects of these drugs. The reason for that is that alcohol may speed up the process of releasing morphine in your system. And alcohol enhances the effects of morphine to a point where the user’s life may be in danger. By releasing morphine too quickly you can experience serious health problems such as:

  • chronic liver infection and disease
  • deep unconscious-like sleeping
  • high blood pressure
  • severe drowsiness
  • slow troubled shallow breathing

Morphine, on the other hand, induces acute release of endorphins by alcohol. Alcohol effects and symptoms can dominate the experience of concurrent use, but keep in mind that side effects of morphine interaction may remain latent for several hours.

Morphine and alcohol overdose

Cases of overdose when mixing alcohol with morphine are the result of central nervous system depression. In fact, there is no safe dosage recommended for co-administration of alcohol and morphine. The levels of morphine in plasma are seriously increased due to the faster metabolism caused by ethanol in alcohol. Overdose is a possible outcome of this situation because morphine is usually designed as long-release formula. Therefore, patients are examined in detail before given a morphine prescription, in order to avoid the potential for risky behavior, such as taking morphine when you are drunk.

Morphine and alcohol deaths

Approximately one in four opiate deaths involves a combination of opiates and alcohol. Death from mixing morphine and alcohol usually comes really fast after overdose symptoms occur, leaving almost no time for family and friends to properly react to the situation. Things can get easily out of hand, especially when you lose track of the amount of alcohol you’ve had. Furthermore, you should also consider the time it takes for the long-release morphine to wear off and make sure you do not put yourself in danger.

Is it safe to drink on morphine?

No, it is definitely not safe to drink on morphine. These two substances should be avoided concurrently. The risk is too high and the side effects can be lethal. And making a well-informed decision about mixing alcohol and morphine can be a life saver. So, if you’re in the habit of drinking every now and then, be sure to inform your prescribing doctor of the frequency of alcohol use so that s/he can correctly prescribe medications better suited for you.

Mixing morphine alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing morphine and alcohol? We hope that we have covered the basic points about its dangers and side effects. But if there is something else you would like to know, please leave your question(s) in the comment section at the end of the article. We try to respond to all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Erowid: Morphine and alcohol, strange
MedLine Plus:Morphine Oral
Drug Abuse DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
Food and Drug Administration: Using medicines safely
Government of Western Australia: Drug and Alcohol Office
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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