Roxanol is a highly concentrated morphine sulfate primarily used to alleviate pain in terminal patients. Morphine can also be described as an opioid (narcotic) analgesic that is sold under various brand names such as Roxanol. It works by directly blocking morphine receptors in the central nervous system. As a short-acting chemical substance, Rexanol is absorbed and distributed quickly in the body to relive pain but the duration of its effects are short lived which makes it necessary to administer regular, repeated dosages to manage pain. Compared to other opiates, Roxanol has a short plasma half-life of approximately two to three hours before it is eliminated from the body, however, it may still be detectable for up to three days in some drug tests.

It is a common drug used in Hospice facilities to treat patients facing end of life situations. Doctors treating patients with Roxanol (liquid morphine) say it is particularly helpful to individuals with chronic pain who are extremely agitated and have shortness of breath.

Drug Classification

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration determine how drugs are classified. These administrations has classified Morphine as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. Since Rexonal is in essence Morphine, it also fall under this classification. As such, it is a highly controlled and regulated drug with accepted medical use in the United States with a high potential for abuse that can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The Controlled Substance Act signed into law in 1972 places strict guidelines on how Schedule II drugs should be manufactured, imported, sold, distributed and used in the United States. Those who violate these stipulated guidelines whether through manufacture, distribution, sale, possession or illicit use of the drug are subject to stiff penalties that are enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration under Federal Law.

On the street, Roxanol may be referred to as:

  • Miss Emma
  • Dreamer
  • Monkey
  • White Stuff
  • Hows
  • Morpho

Use and Abuse

Rexonal may be administered as a liquid, tablet or as an extended release capsule. Extended release capsules or an intravenous drip administration is primarily used when around the clock pain relief is needed. There are many dangers of abusing a narcotic such as Roxanol including dependence, addiction and drug overdose. Overdose situation can lead to depressed respiratory function, coma and even death. The risk of overdose is extremely high with Roxanol. This primarily occurs when the tablets are crushed and snorted, chewed or injected. These forms of administration may causes too much of the drug to be released too soon. Although heroin is a much more potent drug than Rexonal, it tend to be the go to drug when addicts cannot get their usual supply of heroin.

Effects of Roxanol

Roxanol use may display the following known or reported side effects ranging from mild to severe. Severe symptoms may require medical attention to avoid escalation into more serious health risks. They include:

  • Stomach pain or cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling flushed or experiencing tingling in the body
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Stiff and achy muscles
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Feeling weak or fainting away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Not urinating or urinating very little
  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth or genitals
  • Purple or red spots under the skin
  • Bruising easily

Roxanol Addiction and Dependency

Like most addictions, the obsessive desire and craving for Roxanol is a primary sign that an addiction or dependence to the drug has developed. This is typically due to the uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms that occur when drug use is halted. In the case of short-acting drugs like Roxanol, the onset of withdrawal symptoms may occur just before the next scheduled dose is due. These symptoms may include sweating, yawning and a runny nose. If the drug is not administered in time to alleviate the first symptoms, it is possible that they will escalate to include irritability, nausea and severe drug craving. Vomiting, spikes in blood pressure, rapid heartbeats, muscle spasms and tremors are more serious withdrawal symptoms that may make it necessary for the patient to get emergency medical attention.


Roxanol addiction usually requires medical support to successfully halt drug use, experience full recovery and long term sobriety. Attempting to quit without help can be deterred by painful sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be so problematic as to cause a user to relapse.

If use of Roxanol has been habitual for a period of time, the user will need to be carefully evaluated from a physical and psychological standpoint so that an accurate diagnosis of the patients overall health may be determine. Detoxification is usually the first step in the recovery process and is best conducted with medical supervision.

At drug rehab treatment centers we provide a comprehensive treatment program that is specifically designed based on the results of the patient’s assessment and the type and duration of the addiction. Our evidence-based integrative programs are administered by board certified addiction clinicians with years of experience. We assist those suffering with chronic pain and addiction to safely navigate their way out of abuse and into sobriety in a caring and compassionate manner.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Roxanol addiction, call our Drug Rehab Treatment Centers today at 877-855-3470 to find out how we can help you. Our call center representatives are available 24/7 to answer questions and concerns regarding treatment.