Opiates are drugs that are derived from the opium of the poppy plant, a plant commonly found throughout parts of Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Opiates are used medicinally for their painkilling properties.
Not to be confused with opioids, which are man-made substances that mimic the effects of opiates but are not directly derived from opium.
Millions of people throughout the world are addicted to opiates. Within the United States, opiates make up some of the most sought-after substances of abuse. As a result, many Americans are struggling with opiate addiction and the many effects of it.
Several different opiates are legal and can be prescribed by a health care provider. Others are illegal and can only be found through dealers on the black market. Some of the most common opiates include the following:
Morphine is derived directly from the poppy plant, as it is a naturally occurring opiate. It is indicated to treat pain and used in professional healthcare settings to manage pain in patients. However, it is widely abused illegally by many. – common symptoms of morphine addiction include dilated pupils, slurred speech, shallow breathing, and problems concentrating.
Heroin is derived from morphine. It is a semisynthetic opiate, however, as it is often mixed with products such as sugar, baking soda, and starch. In 2016, is was estimated that nearly 630,000 people in the U.S. were addicted to heroin. Heroin is often injected and causes individuals to experience euphoric effects including a rush of pleasure, detachment from one’s surroundings, and sedation.
Demerol is a synthetic opiate, as it simply mimics the effects of naturally occurring opiates. This medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain in those who struggle with a number of physical conditions ranging from cancer to end-stage diseases. When abused, Demerol (meperidine) use canresult in shallow breathing, disorientation, kidney problems, and seizures.
While each type of opiate can produce its own unique symptoms, many of the symptoms associated with opiate addiction are the same. When an individual is addicted to opiates, regardless of if they are naturally occurring or not, the following symptoms may occur:
The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic, which includes those individuals who abuse opiates. When addicted to opiates, an individual must continually increase their dose in order to feel the effects and thereby increase their risk of an overdose. Moreover, at some point, his or her body will become unable to process the amount of opiates he or she has consumed.
Someone who is overdosing on opiates can experience the following:
If someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
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From detox to behavioral therapy, counseling, and aftercare, we provide a full range of services to ensure that patients are given the tool they need to recover and lead happy, fulfilled lives.