Unfortunately, opiates are the fastest growing drug addiction in the country. In 2010, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 200,000 people used heroin and 5.1 million people used painkillers for nonmedical reasons.
Opiates suppress the central nervous system, creating pain relief and a euphoric high feeling. While some people do start out taking them with a legitimate prescription, many become addicted and continue taking them even after their prescription is over.
While this article will explain more about opioids, our opiate specialists can supply you with even more info. Give our hotline a call at 800-429-5210 to speak with someone who can answer your opiate questions.
List of Opiates
Opiates can come in a number of different forms. They might be concocted as liquids, powders, syrups, or tablets.
There are also various ways to consume opiates. Many people prefer to inject the drugs, as this is the fastest way to feel its effects. Additional methods include snorting, taking it orally, and smoking it.
- Hydrocodone, such as Vicodin
- Oxycodone, such as Percocet and OxyContin
- Morphine, such as Kadian and Avinza
Many of these drugs are legal when prescribed by a doctor, which is what makes them so easy to obtain. In these cases, addicts get introduced to opiates through a pain prescription and then never look back. However, drugs like heroin are illegal in every case.
How Opiates Work
Opiates work by sticking to specific proteins in your brain known as opioid receptors. As these proteins are stimulated, it helps reduce pain and sensation throughout the body. In addition, many people experience a euphoric feeling because these receptors are linked to your reward centers.
As you continue to take opiates, your brain will begin to get used to having this constant stimulation of the opioid receptors. This will cause your tolerance levels to go up, meaning you will need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects.
Effects of Opiates
Taking opiates produces a number of noticeable effects in people. Some of the most common side effects include:
- A “rush” feeling that offers intense relief and satisfaction
- Slower breathing, brain activity, and heart rate
- A lack of appetite and thirst
- Decreased sexual desire
- An increased tolerance to pain
- Mental confusion and slower thinking
As you can see, the adverse side effects outweigh most of the positive benefits. Regardless, people still continue to take opiates because of how it makes them feel.
Withdrawal from Opiates
Once a person becomes addicted to opiates, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. These unpleasant side effects can begin only four to six hours after the last dose. Some of the most common ones include:
- Anxiety and agitation
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Tremors, chills, and sweating
- Intense cravings
Normally, these symptoms peak at 72 hours after the last dose and finally disappear seven to 10 days after the last dose.
As you can see, opiates are very dangerous drugs that aren’t really worth the risk. While they do have some benefits when used on a short-term basis, taking them for more than the recommended time can lead to a deadly addiction.