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Opiate drugs remain one of the most prescribed drugs in the country while also being among the most addictive. This type of drug also encompasses illegal drugs like heroin. Opiates come from the poppy plant and have been used for centuries for both legitimate and illicit uses. Some opiates come from natural opium, but many of them come from chemically created versions to have the same effects as natural opium.
All opiates roughly do the same thing, and that is slow the body’s nervous system, including respiration and heart rate. They also cause strong withdrawal symptoms that make them difficult to quit.
Several different types of opiate drugs exist and generally fall under one of three categories, including natural opiates, synthetic opiates, and semi-synthetic opiates. Natural opiates come directly from the opium plant and some research considers them to be less harmful than synthetics. Morphine is an example of a natural opiate. It can be used legitimately as a pain reliever, but can also be abused for a high.
Synthetic opiates produce many of the same effects as natural opium, but are completely created in a lab and do not use any part of the opium plant. Some examples of synthetic opiates include Demerol, methadone, Lortab, and Dilaudid.
Semi-synthetic opiates use both natural and synthetic opium alkaloids in their production. Heroin, a prime example of a semi-synthetic opiate, comes from morphine. Popular painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone contain natural opium alkaloids like thebaine and codeine respectively along with synthetic ingredients.
The short-term effects of opiate drugs include euphoric feelings, relief from pain and sedation. Opiates work as very effective pain relievers, which explains their widespread use. They release dopamine into the brain, which then creates a pleasurable feeling and the need to repeat the behavior. Heroin, in particular, creates a very intense high because of its short half-life of 15 to 20 minutes.
Opiates can cause addiction symptoms in as little as three days or even less in some cases. Side effects of abuse can be different for everyone and may include fatigue, lethargy, paranoia, nausea and respiratory depression. One of the most obvious effects of opiate abuse is tiny pupils. As a depressant, opiates also reduce your reaction time, which makes it dangerous to drive with this drug in your system.
Opiates also have several long-term effects with continued use. These can include nausea and vomiting, bloating, constipation, liver damage, brain damage, tolerance, and dependence. When opiates combine with acetaminophen, the risk of liver damage increases drastically.
As many users inject opiates, another range of problems may crop up. Injection sites often get infected and cause localized gangrene. Sharing needles increases the possibility of contracting HIV or hepatitis. Some users also grind up tablets, combine them with water and then inject the mixture. This can cause heart infections and pulmonary embolisms.
If you have an addiction to opiate drugs, then you will most likely go through a period of withdrawal when you attempt to quit. Most opiate users cannot get through withdrawal without relapsing. A professional drug rehab like Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida offers medical detox to help patients go through opiate withdrawal safely.
Many of those struggling with addiction, whether to opiates or something else, also struggle with an underlying disorder. Beaches Recovery provides dual diagnosis treatment to treat both the addiction and underlying co-occurring disorders. Some of the services Beaches Recovery offers include:
Don’t let an addiction to opiates or any other drug control your life. Give Beaches Recovery a call today at 866.605.0532 and find out how to overcome your addiction and start on the journey to sobriety.