Opiates are the prescribed drugs which are derived from the opium. Opium is a naturally occurring chemical derived from the poppy seeds and plants. Drugs which are used clinically to reduce the pain of the patient are known as the opioid painkiller. As the effects of the opioid painkiller are intensely calming, which causes the abuse of these drugs. There are millions of people using these drugs on a daily basis, which leads to the habit of having it or addiction.
An addiction to the painkiller often begins with the prescription given to the patient for the pain after an accident or injury. These medications are given to the patient with no intention of abusing it. However, as time goes on the body starts resisting it and stop showing the result, which makes them increase the dosage of the drugs to feel relief.
As a person start taking stronger doses, he\she start getting dependent on it. When the desire to take these drugs gets out of control, that person begins compromising his\her physical and psychological health. Addiction to opioids is far more than a strong desire to use drugs- it is a neurological disease, making it inescapable to the person suffering.
An individual suffering from this kind of problem might feel to get rid of this addiction but unable to do so on their own. The only way to get free from this addiction is by taking help from the rehabilitation center.
Types of opiates
Prescription of opiates is given to the patient for a variety of reasons. They are classified into two types of drugs:
Antagonists include clonidine and buprenorphine, do not contain any addictive effects. They are often given to the patient at the rehabilitation centre for the detoxification process.
Agonists are the most commonly used drug given to the patient and have the most potent effects. Substances in these categories carry the highest potential for abuse and addiction.
The most common agonist opiates are as follows:
Opioids v/s Opiates
People often get confused between these two terms and interchange them because both of these substances produces the same effects.
Opiates are the substances which have the active ingredients that are derived from the opium naturally. Morphine and codeine are the common opiates, which are made directly from the drug found in poppy plants.
Opioids are the synthetically manufactured substances that mimic the natural effects of the drug. Some opioids are fully synthetic while some are not means they still contain some amount of natural medicine in them.
Opiates effects and abuse
When a person takes a considerable amount of opiates, it gives them a euphoric and carefree feeling. This type of feeling often leads to drug abuse or addiction.
The opiate abuser has a compulsive behaviour for drug-seeking. For example, a person will visit multiple doctors to get new drugs known as “doctor shopping”.
If a person is not able to get these drugs, then he/she starts stealing from friends and family, or they turn towards another option like heroin as it closely mimics the effects of opiates.
As the tolerance of the body keeps on increasing for the opiates and the desire for it of addicts simultaneously, which ultimately lead to an overdose. Drug overdose is the leading cause of the accidental deaths in the United States, of which 38 per cent was because of the overdose of these painkillers.
Painkiller alone can be the reason for the overdose, but the risk is much higher for those who consume another type of substance at the same time.
Some common signs for the overdose of these drugs are:
• Constricted pupils
• Shallow or restricted breathing
Treatment for opiate addiction
For some people, an overdose is the defining moment, and they opt for the rehabilitation centre straight away. But some people feel ashamed and fear of being the judge while getting the treatment. Survivors of the drug abuse should not feel ashamed of getting treatment as they might have survived this overdose but in future might not. They should get the medicine from the rehabilitation centre, and forgetting their fear out of getting judged; they can join the support group.