What is the significance of Elliott's drug addiction to Morphine in Mr. Robot?

Also, was Morphine chosen due to name recognition over more powerful synthetics?

I do not have personal experience, but I've been told MS Contin (Morphine Sulfate) has side effects of blurred vision, headaches when reading, diplopia that would be awful for anyone who has to use a computer.

Then there is the suboxone which is kind of the antithesis of narcotics; it can even help heroin addicts get clean. I get there is some kind of play between the two chemicals, and it was used to connect Shayla but I'm confident the writers could have connected Shayla and Elliott together in some other way. After all they were both outsiders. Is there a deeper significance to the chemicals being opposites?

3 Answers 3


Being a nurse, I administer opiate medication on a daily basis. MS Contin is actually controlled release or time released morphine. This drug is not very common anymore. I find it a bit odd that the show's creator chose morphine as Elliott's drug of choice. Oxycodone/Oxycontin and Hydrocodone (Percocet and Vicodin) are prescribed more regularly and these drugs have become commonly known to the general public.

Although the side effects of most opiates are blurred vision and/or diplopia (double vision), a lot of people get an energetic high off of opiates. This effect actually will help the user become more analytical and self-aware, which would be a benefit to a computer hacker.

Elliott and Shayla were connected by all drugs Elliott desired, not just Suboxone. Shayla was Elliott's drug dealer. The writer's connected them in that way. Elliott also develops a concern for Shayla after they are intimate, so they are connected by other means than Suboxone. Suboxone is just as addictive as Morphine. Granted, it is used to curb craving and help withdrawal symptoms, but it is still addicting, so the chemicals cannot be classified as opposites. Suboxone contains buprenorphine, which is an addictive opiate in itself.


If you mean significance in metaphorical sense Morphine is painkiller but such a strong one that it can 'block' pain out sometimes mental as well as physical. I think in metaphor non physical terms Elliot wants to block out his Dad's death, betraying his Dad to his Mom and his Dad pushing him out the window. Also when he's being examined after the fall it pans over to the x-ray of his head, I can't read x-rays but you could interpret the camera's focus on it as there being something physical wrong and damaged there too. We know Elliott slips/forgets things hallucinates even when clean so their is an underlying mental illness and a physical damage to the brain like a lesion or a bleed on the brain could be linked to this.


He is not on morphine, he is using hydromorphone (dilaudid). This is a super strong opiate. If you look at the bottle of pills he receives from Shayla, you can see they are white triangle pills. These are 8mg dilaudid pills.

  • 2
    Dilaudid also comes in round pill form. They come in orange, yellow, pink. Do you see what the bottle actually says or just the shape and color of the pills? Granted, they all have a different imprint on them and maybe that's what you saw when you saw the pills. Jan 8, 2017 at 7:36
  • There is no other form of morphine that you can crush and snort besides hydromorphone. The rest of morphine derivatives can not be crushed and snorted. Hydromorphone also produces the strong high Elliot describes.
    – JiggaJ
    Jan 9, 2017 at 4:38

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