Opiate Abuse

2011
04.15

Opiate Abuse

Facts about opiates simply provide information on opiates, which can therefore naturally touch all areas relating to opiates.

Opiate Addiction

For example, it is well known that opiates originate from a fluidic substance found in the opium poppy plant, and exist in the form of morphine, which is a very powerful narcotic, as well as codeine which is not as powerful as morphine. As a narcotic, opiates are drugs that produce analgesia, which is simply relief from pain. They also cause narcosis in a user, which is a state of near unconsciousness or being insensible, and can cause physical dependency on or addiction to the drug. Opiates can even render users so useless that they totally ignore their problems and not deal with them. Some users are so euphoric after using opiates that they experience feelings of tremendous elation.

Both human beings and lower classes of animals are said to possess opiate receptors in their brains, because neurotransmitters in the body produce responses which are like those produced by opiates. This is because the receptors operate as action sites for the different types of opiates like morphine and heroin.

Opiates have been used in medical practice from as far back as 3400 BC when opium was cultivated. Hippocrates, a Greek doctor, used opium for narcotic purposes, and Paracelsus, a Swiss physician and alchemist, used opium to kill pain.

Even though use of opiates like morphine and codeine are legally allowed in medical practice, their use can still be abused. Morphine is a powerful pain killer given to patients in hospitals, and codeine is found in some cough syrups.

In the nineteenth century, morphine, which is named after the fabled Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, was discovered in 1803 by the German pharmacist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner. The opiate, morphine, was first administered in injection form by the Scottish doctor Alexander Wood, in 1843, through the use of a syringe. Later in that century, in 1874 to be exact, an English scientist, named C R Wright, became the first synthesizer of heroin, and The Bayer Company began selling the synthesized heroin in 1898.

Opiates have a tendency to relax the person using them. When they are injected, opiates cause the user to feel a ‘rush’, which is presumably a pleasant feeling. However, other unpleasant effects of opiate use may involve restlessness, nausea, and vomiting. The user may alternate between   feeling alert and feeling drowsy. Importantly, very large doses can render the user impossible to be awakened, the pupils of the eyes may become smaller, and the user’s skin may become cold and moist, as well as blue in color. Breathing can also slow down, which may result in death.

Researchers have divulged other facts about opiates in which they estimate that a little less than half of women dependent on opiates are likely to suffer from anemia, and heart disease, as well as diabetes, pneumonia, or hepatitis during both pregnancy and childbirth. They are also more likely to have more spontaneous abortions, and breech deliveries, in addition to premature births, caesarean sections, and stillbirths. The infants who are born to these women often demonstrate withdrawal symptoms, and these may last for several weeks or even months. Many of these babies also die as a result of this opiate dependency.

Opiate AddictionWithdrawal from opiate-dependency can start 4-6 hours after the user has taken the last dose. These symptoms include uneasiness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, chilliness, sweating and nausea, as well as running noses and eyes. The intensity of these withdrawal symptoms are determined by how much of the opiate was taken, the frequency of the dosage, and the length of the period of use. Withdrawal may take as many as seven to ten days to settle down, although some symptoms like craving for the drug and sleeplessness can continue for months after cessation of use.

Treatments which may be helpful in combating opiate dependence include narcotic antagonists, and methadone. Narcotic antagonists are characteristic drugs which are capable of blocking the dependency of opiates without becoming addictive themselves. They are used effectively to treat opiate overdoses. Methadone is a manufactured drug which does not produce an addiction, but rather prevents withdrawal and cravings for opiates.

Opiate Addiction | Facts About Cocaine | Facts About Heroin | Vicodin Dosage | Pain Killer Addiction

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