The opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the source from which many narcotics including morphine, opium, codeine, and heroin are extracted. Opium is a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic. “The intensity of opium’s euphoric effects on the brain depends on the dose and route of administration. It works quickly when smoked because the opiate chemicals pass into the lungs, where they are quickly absorbed and then sent to the brain. An opium “high” is very similar to a heroin “high”; users experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and the relief of physical pain”, according to the DEA.
It is reported that at least 5% of the U.S. population suffers from addiction to Opiates. The misuse of opiates is almost a given when considering how addictive it is reported to be. It is easy to lose control over the use of a substance that causes the body to build up a tolerance, because the more it is used, the more is needed to achieve the desired results next time. So the user quickly slides into abuse because of this mad cycle. Special care is needed even with prescription opiates for this reason.
Opium Treatment Options usually include:
- Pharmacological treatments (ex: Methadone, or Buprenorphine)
- Behavioral Therapies
- Relapse prevention steps
- Co-partnering support between facility staff and family/friends
Methadone is a synthetic opiate that halts withdrawal symptoms by blocking the effects of opiates in the brain. People addicted to opiates have proven to be very successful when undergoing treatment that includes Methadone.
Other medical treatments are also used to treat opiate addiction, an example being buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a newer medication that is different from methadone, because it has less of a risk of addiction and can be prescribed by specially licensed physicians.
According to the Department of Community and Human Services of King County, Washington, in treatment, patients build skills to assist them in changing their life so that it is no longer centered around drug use. Replacing drug-using activities with drug-free activities, improving upon their problem-solving skills, and relapse prevention skills are some of the key areas they learn about in Behavioral therapy within a treatment center. Behavioral treatment is reported to be even more effective when used in conjunction with medication treatments.
Recovery success rates are far greater with the utilization of treatment centers. In these facilities, an abuser has access to the most up to date information and methods for the entire recovery process. Opium addiction is a chronic condition that will be present for the addict’s entire life, but help is available and recovery is a possibility for those who are ready to get their lives back.