Opium, naturally derived from the opium poppy plant has been used as a mind-altering drug for thousands of years ranking second only to alcohol in prevalence of use. According to Wellesley College, the opium poppy plant’s seedpod contains over fifty identified alkaloid substances, some of which include heroin, morphine and codeine.
In terms of how addictive is opium, its use as a raw material for heroin and morphine drugs pretty much tells the story. In spite of its addiction potential, opium and opium-like ingredients form the basis for many of the prescription pain relief medications on the market.
While these different opium varieties do incorporate opium in varying amounts, the issue surrounding how addictive is opium has as much to do with opium’s effects on the body as it does its effects on the mind.
Opium can be taken as an injection, smoked or taken in pill form. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, combining opium with other drugs, such as marijuana and methamphetamine are also common practices.
An opium “high” produces feelings of euphoria, calm and well-being. Likewise, “highs” produced by heroin and prescription pain medications bring on the same effects.
As a medicinal agent, opium (and opium-type substances) slows down pain signaling processes between cells, which accounts for its pain-relieving effects. Unfortunately, these medicinal effects come with unintended consequences that can place a person’s health and well-being at considerable risk. Eventually, the answer to ‘how addictive is opium’ becomes painfully apparent the longer a person uses.
Opium’s overall effects gradually weaken brain cell structures. When functioning normally, brain cells secrete the neurotransmitter chemicals that regulate central nervous system processes.
How addictive is opium depends on the number of days or months a person uses as well as the dosage amounts taken. Over time, cells grow weaker and come to rely on opium as means for secreting needed neurotransmitter chemicals. In effect, opium takes over central nervous system processes as brain cell structures break down.
So, how addictive is opium? Any drug capable of commandeering brain cell functions can easily take over a person’s thoughts, motivations and behaviors.
An addiction to opium has as much to do with how a person thinks as the actual effects the drug has on the body. Active users that wonder ‘how addictive is opium’ likely still have the presence of mind to acknowledge the changes taking place in their lives.
Once addicted, users have no interest in asking ‘how addictive is opium’ as the drug’s effects have altered their ability to reason and see things as they really are. In effect, this psychological dependence becomes the linchpin in the addiction cycle.
People who’ve used opium or opium-based drugs for months or years are simply not able to take the time to consider the effects of the drug in their lives. Considering how this drug takes over the mind and body, the question, “how addictive is opium?” is best asked during the early stages of use when reasoning and good decision-making are still within a person’s reach.