Citation: Horse Doc. "Pulsating Waves of Warmth: An Experience with Morphine (exp77677)". Erowid.org. Oct 21, 2013. erowid.org/exp/77677
Working in a veterinary hospital and having friends that work at people hospitals allows for some interesting experiences. There are times when unusual medications come our way, and without causing harm to others (we don't steal medicine from patients) we can experiment with different classes of drugs.
One nice thing about these medications is that they are usually very pure. We often joke that those medicines designed for animals are of better quality than the same medicine packaged for human use. We joke about it, but it is often true!
Anyway, 25 minutes ago, M came over for a quick visit. Without revealing too much detail, M works at a human hospital and had a few vials of morphine sulfate (10mg/mL). Of course hospitals don't go handing out amps of morphine, but they cannot use expired medication.
Most people will tell you that a 10mg ampule of morphine will have about 10mg of morphine in it the day before it expires. Guess what, the day after it expires, it still has about 10mg of morphine in it. I don't know of any exact tests along this line, but people have found vials of morphine over 125 years old that still contained active compound.
Regardless of quality, hospitals must get rid of their expired medications, or face severe penalties. Now 493 times out of 500, no one is going to know that an expired medication had been used. Those 7 or so cases where an investigation is done (due to an unrelated complication) may turn up the fact that the patient had been given an expired med. Even though the expired med couldn't have caused any problem, it can still cost hospitals a lot of money for settlements.
I don't know M's exact source for the morphine, but the vials we tried were almost 2 months past expiration so I figure there is a small leak in the expired medication disposal system.
M usually brings little presents over a few times a year, so it's nothing that we do very often. This preparation of morphine is designed to be injected IV, IM or subcutaneously. In the past, I've usually opted for an IM jab.
When given IM, morphine burns a little as it wells up in the muscle layers (I'd rate it about 0.25 on a 10 point scale, the needle jab itself is a quickly passing 0.75 on the same scale).
Over the course of 5-15 minutes, one can feel the morphine slowly take hold, slowly but surely. For those who've eaten opiates, and feel their effects growing over 1-2 hours, an IM injection is similar, but with the 'fast forward' button pressed.
Today, I decided to try something different. It is the first day of spring, the weather is nice...why not?
Having access to pharmaceutically pure meds is one benefit to working in a hospital, another benefit is an abundance of clean (sterile actually) needles and syringes.
I trust M knows what she doing. She does similar things to her patients, albeit legally. Due to our jobs, it wouldn't be a great idea to walk around with needle puncture marks and bruises over our arm veins. I opted to use the vein on my foot.
As M prepared the 3-cc syringe and 25-gauge needle for the jab, I cleaned the injection site with alcohol, 4 times (letting the alcohol dry in between each wipe down).
I didn't know why at the time, but M also drew up 1-cc of sterile saline along with the 1-cc of Morphine (10mg). I could see the two solutions mixing at first--I mean they were both clear, but I guess of slightly different viscosities. M used a bubble in the syringe as a mixing ball, and by inverting the syringe a few times, the bubble traveled up and down, mixing, diluting the Morphine. Later she told me that leaving the Morphine full strength sometimes causes blood to coagulate in the syringe. At best, it would just clog the needle, at worse the clot would be injected into the vasculature which is never a good idea. By diluting the solution to roughly 5mg per mL, the blood is less apt to clot.
I squatted, resting on my feet, which caused some venous congestion, causing the veins on my foot to become pronounced. M found a good candidate and prepared to go in. The insertion of the needle was just about painless. Her years of training were evident, as she only needed to adjust the needle once to tap the vein.
She pulled back slightly on the plunger and a small amount of dark red blood appeared at the needle end of the syringe. I think junkies refer to this process as 'registering,' ensuring the end of the needle is in the vein. Doctors & nurses use the same technique for the same reason, only they don't have a cool name for it (unless you think 'intravenous access' sounds cool).
She slowly pushed the plunger in from the 2cc mark to the 1cc mark. Roughly 5mg in. She re-checked the position of the needle by drawing more blood back into the syringe, and then slowly pushed the rest of the syringe's contents into my vein.
Instead of withdrawing the needle immediately after pushing the plunger home, she did the 'junkie washout' trick, drawing about 1cc of blood back into the syringe and then pushing it back into the vein from whence it came.
This all occurred over 20-30 seconds, and since my legs were bent in the squatting position, I did not feel the effects of the morphine yet. All 10mg of morphine were 'trapped,' being held in my lower leg. She told me that as soon as I stood up, or layed down, or straightened my leg, the venous blood would return to my circulation and I would feel it.
Not wanting to be overwhelmed by the effects, I slowly rolled into a laying position on the floor and raised my legs to rest on the couch. Gravity and circulation brought the happy blood to my heart and then on to my brain.
Even though I trusted M and knew that 10mg of morphine wouldn't kill a person a quarter of my weight, I still had a little anxiety when I first felt the effects come on. It was like a relaxing wave of warm water radiating from my chest outward. The waves were pulsatile, matching my heartbeat, I guess. The effects became more pronounced with each pulsation. The anxiety I spoke of earlier comes from not knowing when the effects were going to hit their plateau. For a few seconds, you realize that everyone who has ever OD'd likely felt a feeling very similar to this, only for them, it never really reached a plateau, only respiratory depression, and more.
This bad thought went away fairly quickly after the effects reached their maximum. After 2-3 minutes, the effects were like any other route of administration, an opiate high.
I offered to help M with her shot, but she didn't need my help. Her dose was the same as mine, not that I am keeping track or anything, but if she has a tolerance to opiates, she didn't reveal it.
In summary, using a pure opiate product IV is an unusual experience, but all things considered, I think I prefer taking it IM. An injection to the muscle just seems cleaner and I like the effects more, even though it takes a few minutes longer to begin to feel it. Jabbing a vein, even when done properly, is messy (bloody) and the social connotations cause me to think of it as 'dirty.'
I might consider using the IV route once in a while, but honestly, I find the IM route much more to my liking.
Just a note: using 'street drugs' IM, or crushed up morphine pills IM is asking for an abscess or some permanent damage. One shouldn't mess with drugs at all, or needles, but if you do, do it right, do your homework. One should use a drug in the manner in which it was formulated. If it was made to be eaten, then eat it. Trying to convert oral, time-released morphine particles to something injectible is foolish, at best.
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