Opiates: All You Need to Know about its Addiction and Abuse

Opiates: All You Need to Know about its Addiction and Abuse 

Opiates also referred to as narcotics, are drugs often prescribed for pain relief and depressants for the central nervous system. The drug is known to have a euphoric effect, apart from its pain-relieving characteristic. Examples include cough syrups containing codeine, morphine, meperidine. These opiates are often abused. 

Classification of Opiates 

Three major classes of opiates exist. They include:

  • Opioids 

These are derivatives of morphine that are partially synthetic. They include oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. 

  • Morphine

This is the class of opium derivatives that occur naturally. 

  • Synthetic Compounds 

As the name implies, they are synthetic compounds. They include codeine, Propoxyphene, levorphanol, alfentanil, fentanyl, methadone, and Meperidine. 

The Effects of Opiates

As said before, opiates work by slowing down functions in the body, depressing the CNS (Central Nervous System), relieving pain, and producing pleasurable feelings. It is the pleasurable effect the drugs have on the body and the brain that makes them addictive. Below are a few effects of opiates:

  • Nausea 
  • Slowed and shallow breathing 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Reduced heart rate 

It is safe to take them as prescribed, but anything more could become dangerous. 

Opioid Abuse/Addiction 

Opioid abuse is simply seeking constantly for opioids, completely ignoring its harmful effects and how it affects changes in the brain that last for long. The abuse of drugs containing opiates is the leading cause of accidental death in a lot of countries. It isn’t as easy to recognize, but here are a few symptoms:

  • Financial issues (because you consistently spend on opiates and cannot stop yourself) 
  • Mood swings 
  • A loss of interest in life 
  • Always visiting doctors 

These happen at the early stages, and you should take it seriously before an overdose occurs and leads to severe damage and death. 

  • Statistics say that over 10 million Americans abused pain killers in the previous year. 
  • Close to 200 million people use prescribed opioids 
  • Over 40 people lose their lives every day to opioids overdose 

The numbers are frightening, and it keeps getting worse. In 2017, the HHS officially declared that the abuse of opioids should be treated as a public health emergency. 

Addiction to opiates stems from its abuse and can ruin your life, your health, your friendships, and your relationship with your family. Opiates, when taken for long, will change your brain’s chemistry, and as time goes on, you will need more to sustain the pleasurable effects. 

Help for Opiate Addiction 

It is difficult for one who is addicted to opiates to break free easily. One who is dependent on opioids will experience withdrawals without one. Symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, restlessness, diarrhea, increased heart rate, sweating, runny nose, sleeplessness, shivering, goose pimples, and teary eyes. Methadone, Suboxone, and Subutex are drugs prescribed to people who are addicted to opiates. 

If you or a loved one is currently addicted to opiates, it is essential to get help. The first step is finding out if there are rehab centers in your area. The job of these treatment centers is to ensure that the individual receives all the help needed to treat their situation. Rehab centers believe that recovery is not impossible and during drug rehab, the individual learns skills that will take him through the recovery journey.