When opium is smoked, the drug causes a short-term high that includes relaxation, pain relief, reduced anxiety and impaired alertness and coordination. These effects usually wear off in about 3-4 hours. Using opium for a prolonged time or using opium excessively can lead to a tolerance of the common side effects of opium and the user may not feel as relaxed when the drug is used. In fact, over time, opium use can lead to heightened anxiety, weight loss, and mental deterioration. There is even a potential for death to occur as a result of opium overdose though not common unless a derivative of the drug is being used.
The harmful effects of opium are not often noticeable until the drug has been used for many years. Prolonged use of opium can lead to lung disorders including emphysema and cancer. Smoking opium also causes damage to the brain, liver, kidneys and various other organs of the body. This damage does not necessarily repair itself or go away when the drug is no longer used which is why it is so important to stop opium abuse as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the body.
As opium use progresses, the body becomes tolerant to the drug and the pain reduction qualities of this drug or its derivatives are not as profound. Feelings of pleasure and euphoria are ultimately replaced with feelings of desire or need to use more and more of the drug to produce similar euphoric effects. Opium tolerance such as this often leads to dependence and opium addiction.
Common opium effects include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Sense of emotional detachment or floating outside one’s self
- Reduced pain
- Reduced stress
- Altered mood, altered mental state
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Reduced energy
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired vision
If you or someone you know is abusing opium and need help, contact Opium.org for a free counselor referral at 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?). Our helpline is available 24/7 to assist you in finding the right treatment for your needs.