Difference Between Heroin And Morphine

Difference Between Heroin And Morphine

A woman is prescribed morphine for massive migraines in the hospital. She begins to take it regularly and realizes that the more morphine she takes, the less her headaches bother her. Her body, and specifically her head, have become dependent on morphine. She picks up her bottle one day and realizes that she has one left, so she calls her doctor. He tells her, “I can’t prescribe you anymore.” She heard once that heroin was even stronger than morphine, and she is desperate, so she decides to seek it out. After getting her hands on heroin, she realizes that there are fewer hoops to jump through and it is cheaper than getting morphine. Her headache leaves her faster than ever before, but there is one major difference: heroin isn’t legal. What has she gotten herself into??

Does this story sound familiar to you? Approximately 70,000 Tennesseeans are addicted to opioids such as morphine and heroin. Tennessee ranks 3rd in the country for prescription use disorders. At ReVIDA® Recovery, we provide a safe environment for you to reclaim your life substance use. Today we’re going to talk about the difference between heroin and morphine and how we can help you get on the road to recovery.

What is Morphine?

Morphine comes from the opium plant and is used for pain management. In the emergency room, morphine is given for conditions such as headaches, abdominal pain, and arthritis. It can decrease heart rate and blood pressure. It can be given intravenously (IV), orally, and via epidural. Those dependent on morphine often use a needle to inject it into themselves. Some street names for it include Dreamer, God’s Drug, and M.S. It is known to create a sense of euphoria. Morphine is legal with a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor might prescribe you morphine for pain relief under the following brand names: Kadian®, Morphabond®, Roxanol®, AVINza®, and MS-Contin®.

What is Heroin?

Heroin comes from morphine. It is found in a powder form that is often brown or white or in a black sticky substance. Heroin is 100% illegal. It can not be regulated, which leads to heroin being mixed with other substances such as fentanyl. This makes it dangerous due to the unpredictable nature that mixing substances can lead to an overdose. Heroin is taken by snorting, injecting, or smoking. Some street names for it include Black Tar, Smack, and Thunder. Like morphine, it creates a sense of euphoria in those who consume it.

Difference Between Heroin And Morphine - Addiction Treatment at ReVIDA Recovery

Heroin vs. Morphine: How They Affect the Brain

Morphine and heroin relieve pain by interrupting nerve signals when the body tells the brain that there is pain. They can also create euphoria or joy when taken. This is done by activating the brain’s reward center, which releases dopamine into the body, creating a reason for continuing the behavior. Signs of a heroin addiction are similar to a morphine use disorder. These include social problems, financial problems, frequent mention of heroin or morphine, and displays of negative emotions.

Which Substance is Stronger?

Heroin is twice as strong as morphine. This is because heroin acts directly in the central nervous system, while morphine activates opioid receptors in the brain. Heroin, when injected with an IV, takes approximately 3 minutes before it starts “working”, while morphine takes approximately 30 minutes on average.

Which Substance Acts Faster?

Heroin acts faster than morphine, but morphine lasts longer than heroin. Morphine typically will wear off in 4-6 hours. Heroin only lasts for a couple of hours.

Which Substance are People Most Likely to Overdose On?

It is possible to overdose on both heroin and morphine. However, heroin has more risks associated with overdose because it can be found mixed with other substances such as fentanyl. This is because heroin is not regulated.  When fentanyl is mixed into heroin it makes it easier to overdose. This is because mixing fentanyl with heroin can worsen side effects and can be unpredictable each time it is consumed. Fentanyl is 50-100 times stronger than both morphine and heroin. This makes it a great way to lower the amount of actual heroin in a product which will lower the overall cost of making and selling heroin without sacrificing the overall effect. This all allows the person selling heroin to make more money.

Signs of a morphine overdose include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Unable to wake up
  • Cold skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting

Signs of a heroin overdose include:

  • Pale face
  • Inability to talk
  • Blue lips
  • Not breathing
  • Limp or rigid body
  • Slow pulse
  • Vomiting

If you notice that someone is experiencing an overdose, administer Narcan® (naloxone) as soon as possible. You might need several doses. It can help reverse the effects of an overdose. It’s also important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

In Tennessee, you are allowed to purchase Narcan® (naloxone) with and without a prescription. In Tennessee, under the Good Samaritan law, you will be protected legally if you give someone life-saving care such as Narcan® (naloxone).

The Side Effects of Heroin vs. Morphine

The side effects of heroin and morphine can be similar since heroin comes from morphine. But since heroin is stronger, side effects or severity can differ.

Side effects of morphine include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Itching

While heroin might also have these side effects, there are other heroin side effects that you could experience.

These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sedation

Which is the Most Used, Heroin or Morphine?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2018, 9.9 million people misused pain relievers, including morphine. Heroin is used more often than morphine, but not at a significant difference.

Difference Between Heroin And Morphine - Addiction Treatment in Tennessee

Getting Treatment for Heroin or Morphine Addiction Treatment in Tennessee

A heroin or morphine use disorder does not mean it’s the end of the road for you. Recovery from both is possible and looks similar. Morphine withdrawal is the same as heroin withdrawal. Both types include symptoms such as fever, shaking, cravings, and hot and cold flashes. These side effects can feel terrifying, and you might feel alone in this process. But with treatment, know that you are not alone. You can take medications that will ease the effects of the symptoms. These medications do not solve your heroin or morphine use concerns, but they make it easier to focus on tasks and skills that will aid you in your recovery journey.

Morphine and heroin addiction treatment are possible in Tennessee. You might be prescribed Suboxone® (buprenorphine) which will help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal. At ReVIDA® Recovery, you’ll also join a support group in the form of group therapy. This will be a safe space where you will be with people like you and on the road to recovery. Alongside group therapy, you will experience cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We provide you with the skills you need to recognize your thought patterns and reclaim your life from addiction.

At ReVIDA® Recovery, we are located in Eastern Tennessee. You will be treated as an individual who deserves to recover from heroin or morphine use. Our compassionate care team is waiting for you today. Call us at 423-631-0432.

How Long Does Suboxone® Block Opiates


How potent is heroin relative to morphine?

Heroin is two times stronger than morphine. Heroin also takes approximately 3 minutes to create an effect, while morphine takes approximately 30 minutes. Even though heroin is stronger and works faster than morphine, its effects last for a shorter period than morphine. The effects of heroin last for a few hours, while morphine can last 4-6 hours.

What are other names for oral morphine?

Oral morphine can have the following brand names: Kadian®, Morphabond®, Roxanol®, AVINza®, and MS-Contin®.

Which substance carries more overdose risks?

Heroin carries more overdose risk because it can be found mixed with fentanyl. This makes the substance more susceptible to unpredictable effects that can lead to overdose. It can lead to overdose because the person taking it does not always know how much of the substance they are taking.