Roxanol is the brand name for a concentrated oral solution of morphine. This potent, non-synthetic narcotic is derived from the same natural source as opium. Although all forms of morphine are addictive, addicts usually prefer to inject the drug because it amplifies the rush.
As a Schedule II drug, Roxanol should only be prescribed to patients with around the clock pain that cannot be effectively treated with other analgesics.
Roxanol functions by changing the way you receive pain signals sent between your nerves and your brain. It produces feelings of relaxation and well-being. These effects are augmented when the drug is abused, making Roxanol highly addictive.
Understanding Roxanol Abuse
According to Merriam-Webster, the word morphine comes from the Greek Morpheus, the god of sleep. The name was chosen because the drug causes the user to feel a peaceful drowsiness.
Roxanol is a concentrated oral solution of morphine. Although morphine is a central nervous system depressant, the action of blocking opiate receptors also stimulates the brain to release excess dopamine, which produces euphoria.
Patients who take Roxanol for severe pain will feel sedated and sleepy, but are unlikely to experience the euphoric effects that addicts find so irresistible.
Signs and Symptoms of Roxanol Abuse
Most addicts do their best to hide their drug use from loved ones, but they usually aren’t able to conceal it completely.
Here are some possible signs of Roxanol addiction:
- unusual drowsiness
- illogical thinking and behavior
- frequent doctor’s office and emergency room visits
- mood swings
- changes in appearance or hygiene
- withdrawing from family and friends
- secretive behavior
- neglecting responsibilities
- poor performance at school or work
Using Roxanol, even as directed, has the potential to cause a number of adverse effects, according to MedlinePlus. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking Roxanol, seek immediate medical attention:
- blue or purple color to the skin
- changes in heartbeat
- severe muscle stiffness or twitching
- loss of coordination
- nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite
- weakness or dizziness
- inability to get or keep an erection
- irregular menstruation
- decreased sexual desire
- extreme drowsiness
- chest pain
- itching, hives, or rash
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Dangers of Roxanol Abuse
No one sets out to get hooked on a drug. When you first tried Roxanol, you may have meant for it to be the only time. Each time after, too, you may have meant to be the last, but the cravings for the drug are very quick to develop, as are other signs of dependence.
Long-term use of Roxanol will cause you to develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects. This will require you to continually raise your dosage. Because opioid receptors are located in the same areas of the brain that control respiration, high doses of Roxanol can cause your breathing to stop completely.
High doses of Roxanol will also make you vulnerable to overdose. The Drug Enforcement Agency describes the overdose effects of morphine as follows:
- cold, clammy skin
- lowered blood pressure
- slowed breathing
- slow pulse rate
Who Abuses Roxanol?
Anyone can become addicted to Roxanol. You may have started taking it by prescription after surgery or injury, but found yourself unable to quit after you healed. You may have first taken it to self-medicate panic attacks, or escape some aspect of your life that you felt unable to handle.
No matter how it began, Roxanol is highly addictive, which means you might be currently taking the drug not to get high, but to simply avoid physically and emotionally painful withdrawal symptoms.
The Drug Enforcement Agency lists the following withdrawal symptoms for Roxanol:
- muscle and bone pain
- cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”)
- leg movements
Quitting Roxanol can also result in a range of psychological and emotional symptoms, such as anxiety and depression.
When used legally for severe pain, Roxanol can help you heal and prevent further damage to your body. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that morphine not only relieves pain, but “has a calming effect that protects the system against exhaustion in traumatic shock, internal hemorrhage, congestive heart failure, and debilitated conditions (as certain forms of typhoid fever).”
When abused, however, Roxanol will swiftly and easily result in an addiction that you will not be able to beat without help.
Am I Addicted to Roxanol?
To determine if you are addicted to Roxanol, consider these questions from Narcotics Anonymous. According to their pamphlet, it isn’t about how many yes responses you have, but how the questions make you feel.
- Do you ever use alone?
- Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking that one particular drug was the problem?
- Have you ever manipulated or lied to a doctor to obtain prescription drugs?
- Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to obtain drugs?
- Do you regularly use a drug when you wake up or when you go to bed?
- Have you ever taken one drug to overcome the effects of another?
- Do you avoid people or places that do not approve of you using drugs?
- Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
- Has your job or school performance ever suffered from the effects of your drug use?
- Have you ever been arrested as a result of using drugs?
- Have you ever lied about what or how much you use?
- Do you put the purchase of drugs ahead of your financial responsibilities?
- Have you ever tried to stop or control your using?
- Have you ever been in a jail, hospital, or drug rehabilitation center because of your using?
- Does using interfere with your sleeping or eating?
- Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?
- Do you feel it is impossible for you to live without drugs?
- Do you ever question your own sanity?
- Is your drug use making life at home unhappy?
- Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without drugs?
- Have you ever felt defensive, guilty, or ashamed about your using?
- Do you think a lot about drugs?
- Have you had irrational or indefinable fears?
- Has using affected your sexual relationships?
- Have you ever taken drugs you didn’t prefer?
- Have you ever used drugs because of emotional pain or stress?
- Have you ever overdosed on any drugs?
- Do you continue to use despite negative consequences?
- Do you think you might have a drug problem?
Roxanol Addiction Treatment
Drug abuse has a way of shrinking your world down to the small whirlwind of acquiring and using drugs. Treatment will allow the world will open up for you again, full of possibility.
Quitting Roxanol abruptly is not medically advised. Most rehab facilities will guide you through the process of gradually reducing your dosage, to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms.
Although it can be beneficial to detox and recover in a residential treatment facility, there are effective outpatient options available, too. What’s important is that you find the right program with the best approach for your individual goals.
Whatever program you choose, there are certain forms of therapy that show up everywhere due to their proven efficacy.
Family therapy is a great way to work on your interpersonal relationships, and put into place systems that will promote your continued recovery once you return to your everyday life. Individual therapy is a great way to address your issues in a focused way. Equally important, group therapy is helpful because offering support to others can be just as healing as receiving support.
Approaches that treat your body, mind and spirit have become increasingly popular in recent years, and have been proven extremely effective. Yoga, mindfulness training, recreational therapy, music therapy, and fitness/nutritional counseling are just a few examples of the ways a treatment program can approach healing from all angles.
Meetings such as those based on AA’s 12-step philosophies are a wonderful resource that will be available to you wherever you go for the rest of your life.