MSIR is a brand name for a liquid and tablet form of morphine sulfate. As one of the most powerful pain-relieving medications available today, MSIR is only prescribed for patients suffering severe, around the clock pain that cannot be treated with other, less potent analgesics.
Morphine is made from the seed pods of the Asian poppy, and heroin can then be made from morphine. This should tell you how potentially addictive drugs like MSIR can be when they are misused or abused.
Understanding MSIR Abuse
MSIR comes in liquid and tablet formulations. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s publication on Drugs of Abuse, morphine was traditionally administered almost exclusively by injection, a form that addicts tend to prefer because the drug enters the bloodstream so quickly.
These days morphine comes in a variety of formulations, all of which are still susceptible to abuse. MSIR tablets can be snorted, or crushed and dissolved in liquid to be injected. This will give you a rush of euphoria due to a sudden and abnormally large release of dopamine in your brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, desire and movement. Our brains use it to reinforce natural behaviors such as exercise and sex. According to Harvard Health Publications, the release of dopamine “serves as a signal that the action promotes survival or reproduction, directly or indirectly. The system is called the reward pathway. When we do something that provides this reward, the brain records the experience and we are likely to do it again.”
In fact, studies have shown that after sustained opiate abuse, addicts may no longer feel “good” or “high” when they take drugs, and yet they still feel compelled to keep using, often increasing to dangerously high doses as they keep chasing the intense high they felt in the early days of drug use.
Signs and Symptoms of MSIR Abuse
If you know and love someone who is addicted to MSIR, they probably take great pains to hide their drug use from you. They may feel ashamed of their addiction. They may hate the thought of making you worry. They may know that you would likely try to intervene and help them, and they don’t feel ready to get clean yet.
Despite the secrecy, there are some signs and symptoms you can look out for. Behavioral indicators may include:
- poor performance at work or school
- altered appearance, neglected hygiene
- unexplained mood swings
- lack of interest in favorite hobbies and activities
- frequent requests for money, selling belongings, stealing
There are also more physical indications of opiate abuse. According to the Mayo Clinic, these can include:
- euphoria or feeling “high”
- reduced sense of pain
- drowsiness or sedation
- slurred speech
- problems with attention and memory
- constricted pupils
- lack of awareness or inattention to surrounding people and things
- problems with coordination
- sweaty, clammy skin
- runny nose or nose sores (if snorting drugs)
- needle marks (if injecting drugs)
Dangers of MSIR Abuse
Why do drug users develop a tolerance to the effects of opiates over time? This is in large part due to the function of the brain’s reward pathway.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, normal brain rewards are like a whisper, while drug-induced rewards are like a shout. “Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive signals. As a result, dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit of the brain of someone who abuses drugs can become abnormally low, and that person’s ability to experience any pleasure is reduced.”
Abusing drugs is not only reinforced by the reward pathway, but by the fact that your depleted dopamine levels will create such a persistent low mood that you’ll be driven to take more and more drugs to try and feel normal again, which only compounds the problem.
This is a dangerous cycle that can easily lead to overdose. The Drug Enforcement Agency’s fact sheet on morphine lists the overdose effects as:
- cold, clammy skin
- lowered blood pressure
- slowed breathing
- slow pulse rate
Who Abuses MSIR?
Addictions to MSIR and other prescription painkillers have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 national study on drug use and health found that 1.9 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 abused prescription painkillers (467,000), 2.8 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 did (978,000), and 1.4 percent of adults aged 26 or older did (2.9 million).
Part of the problem is how addictive these drugs are. Very few people are able to try a drug like MSIR recreationally and never use again, and many users get hooked from their first experience. Then, if they try to quit, withdrawal symptoms caused by their physical dependence on the drug will push them to give up.
MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine lists the following symptoms of MSIR withdrawal:
- teary eyes
- runny nose
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- back, muscle, or joint pain
- nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite
- stomach cramps
- fast heartbeat or fast breathing
Addiction is a disease that can destroy lives, but there is hope. Recovery is possible with help.
But first you have to recognize you have a problem.
Am I Addicted to MSIR?
You may be addicted to MSIR if you respond yes to one or more of the questions below:
- Does it feel like I pour almost all of my time and energy into my drug use?
- Do I use MSIR daily or several times a day?
- Do I abuse the drug in order to escape problems and negative feelings?
- Have friends or family members mentioned more than once that they are worried about my drug use?
- Do I become hostile or angry when they do so?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or do I lie about when I use or how much I take?
- Do I feel like I can’t be social, feel normal, or make it through ordinary tasks and activities without taking MSIR?
- Have I had to increase my dosage in order to still feel the effects of MSIR?
- Have I experienced any major problems in the last year due to my drug use, such as family problems, a breakup, financial problems, job loss, car accident, or getting arrested?
- Have I tried and failed to quit using MSIR before?
- When I did try, did I suffer withdrawal symptoms such as those listed above?
- Despite difficulties like these, do I feel unable to stop using on my own?
If you have a substance abuse problem, then you need professional assistance to overcome it.
MSIR Addiction Treatment
There is no one size fits all cure for the disease of addiction—in fact, there is no cure. But the disease can be managed, and you can move past drug use, heal, and rebuild a better, happier, more meaningful life with treatment.
With the spectrum of care options available today, you will undoubtedly be able to find quality, affordable addiction care that suits your needs and goals. You may decide to check into a residential program for intensive recovery work, or you may choose to integrate recovery into your life via an outpatient program.
No matter what type of program you choose, there are certain elements that are sure to be incorporated into your overall treatment plan.
You need to free your body from all traces of MSIR to fully recover, but you should not abruptly stop taking the drug. This will cause your withdrawal symptoms to be much more severe.
Ideally, you should detox at a treatment facility under medical guidance. Doctors and nurses will instruct you how to taper off your dosage, and/or introduce you to medications that can ease your withdrawal symptoms and curb your drug cravings.
Most treatment plans will also include:
- Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous
- Talk therapy
- Quality health care to heal the physical damage drugs have inflicted
- Relapse counseling and prevention