Most people have heard the word Opioids in some context, yet how many understand what an opioid drug is or what it does? How can something that comes from the doctor be potentially harmful or dangerous? With rates of addiction rising, being informed about opioids is becoming necessary quickly.
What are opioids
Opioids are drugs that are either naturally occurring in the opium poppy or scientists make them with the same chemical structure in a clinical-grade laboratory.
This type of drug treats moderate to severe pain, which is achieved when opiates can relax the body and relieve pain through the use of dopamine activation sites in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body.
While a doctor may prescribe these drugs, there is always a chance for abuse. Due to the euphoric feelings that they can produce, the chance of misusing opioids and becoming addicted is much higher.
Once addicted, it is hard to stop using because the withdrawal symptoms are extreme. Plus, opiate addiction could lead to post-acute withdrawal.
For many users, opioid addiction begins as misuse of a prescription. Taking a drug in any other way than prescribed is considered misuse, and this is as simple as taking two doses a little too close together, which can lead to an increased amount of the substance in the body at any given time.
Misusing leads to tolerance, which causes the user to take more to achieve the same effect, which leads to a downward spiral ending in addiction.
Once addicted, it is hard for people to stop using. This difficulty is due, in part, to withdrawal but also because for chronic users, their addiction can lead to overdose.
Overdose death is not pretty. It is usually due to the respiratory system becoming depressed until there is little to no oxygen in the bloodstream, eventually causing death if not treated in time.
Individuals who use opiate drugs are often searching for the euphoric effects or relaxation that the drug is known to produce. Unfortunately, these feelings are what start the misuse for many people.
While some users take the drugs traditionally, some crush the pills. When crushed, they will either snort or dissolve the powder in water and use them intravenously to feel more of the drug’s effects.
Other things to consider
Heroin is an opioid drug that has no medical purpose, according to the US. Yet, there are still plenty of people using it.
A significant number of people will switch from prescriptions to heroin since heroin is cheaper in many places. And so, the addiction rates, as well as the overdose rates, continue to rise.
The best thing to do if prescribed an opioid drug is to take it as prescribed. Always take extra caution with these drugs since they are highly addictive. Make sure to have someone who holds you accountable while you take them. Having the voice of reason might save your life.