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Some pertinent facts about dependence on opioids

by Uneeb Khan

When we hear the term ‘opioids’, we often wonder what this term means and how many types are there.

These are compounds taken from the poppy seed that’s usually found in Asia, South America, and Mexico.

Usually prescribed to patients with chronic pain, this drug soon renders them incapable of functioning without its use and this leads to prolonged, non-medical use, which is commonly known as opioid addiction.

Why it is dangerous

Dependence on any kind of drug is usually debilitating. It is believed that around 0.5 million deaths occur all around the world due to drug abuse. Out of these, over 70 percent are due to opioids abuse. 

The reason why people start abusing them is almost immediately after taking them, the user starts getting intensely powerful feelings of euphoria. This leads to them developing a strong drive to use them over and over again. Despite knowing just how harmful this drive and use are, they find themselves unable to stop. Over time, users attain an enhanced tolerance to the taken dose’s effects and they begin to take more and more. Some users even mix these with other narcotics to gain a stronger ‘high’. However, in some cases, users overdose on these and face difficulties with breathing, which can ultimately cause death.

Experts at leading centers for drug rehab in Florida name substances like tramadol, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, heroin, methadone, etc. in their list of opioids. 

In most cases of opioid overdose, a medicine called naloxone is administered to avoid the occurrence of death. If you fear a loved one has overdosed, here are the signs you can check for:

  1. Unconsciousness
  2. Breathing difficulties
  3. Pinpoint pupils of the eyes

Risk factors

There are several risk factors in play when it comes to overdosing on opioids. These are:

  • If the user takes them via injections
  • If the user relapses, as in resumes the intake after abstinence or posts a detoxification treatment
  • If its use is mixed with other substances, like alcohol, pain medications, or barbiturates
  • If the user takes heavy quantities of opioids on a daily basis
  • If the use is without any medical supervision whatsoever
  • If the user has concurrent medical conditions, like liver/lung diseases, HIV, etc. 

It has been observed that men, the elderly, and people with low socio-economic status are more vulnerable to overdosing on opioids.

The sad fact is many truly effective treatments are available for users but fewer than 10 percent of them avail them. If you feel your loved one is abusing opioids, all you have to do is call a drug addiction hotline and you shall get the needed help and support right away.

Most opioids are prescribed by doctors in an arbitrary manner, especially in poorer countries. It is imperative to check this practice as it can be difficult to monitor patients who overshoot the prescribed amounts and slowly gain dependence on the drug. It is also important to help and encourage the user to go in for a Drug detox treatment program at the earliest so that they can be weaned off the abuse.


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