Opium Addiction and Abuse

Opium is a widely used psychoactive substance in the United States. Opium is a widely used psychoactive substance in the United States.  According to a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, some opium products are illegal nationwide. For example, heroin is a banned substance that derives from opium. Conversely, fentanyl and OxyContin are opium products that are legal when used by health care experts for medical purposes.

However, drugs that comprise opium can result in severe physical and psychological problems. If you’re addicted to opium, it is important to find professional assistance immediately to avoid long-term health complications.

Opium is the milky, latex sap that is found in the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Raw derivatives of the plant are called opiates, which are natural painkillers that are often used for medical purposes. Opiates can be synthesized to create opioids, which are man-made pain relievers.

The opium poppy is a key ingredient in many of today’s popular psychoactive substances. Examples of drugs that are extracted from the poppy plant include:

For many years, health professionals have used medications with ingredients derived from opium, including both opiates and opioids. Oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl are popular painkillers used to manage physical pain. However, these pain relievers are often abused for their euphoric properties.

Opium can produce both mild and dangerous effects. Some of the consequences of using the substance include drowsiness, confusion and constipation. If used in excess, opium can lead to a physical or psychological dependence.

Symptoms of an opium overdose include irregular breathing, loss of coordination, sleeping problems, seizures or coma. An opium overdose can be fatal if left untreated. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an opium overdose, call 911 immediately.

As early as 5,000 B.C., poppy plants were grown in the Mediterranean region. The Sumerians referred to it as the “joy plant” because of the euphoric effects produced by opium. The Sumerians then passed the drug along to the Egyptians, who began growing poppy plants.

Since then, the poppy plant has been grown in many countries around the world. The cultivation of the plant soon spread along the Silk Road to China. There, opium served as a catalyst in the mid-19th century Opium Wars involving China and Britain.

In the 1800s, opium dens were established throughout China. These dens soon popularized in Southeast Asia and parts of Europe. In the mid-1800s, Chinese immigrants brought opium with them to the United States, particularly New York City and San Francisco.

Opium was introduced as a pain reliever among medical experts in the 1600s. In the United States, health care professionals use synthesized opium, called opioids, to reduce pain.

opium poppy plants

Most poppy straw concentrate comes in the form of a brownish powder. However, opium can also appear as a solid or liquid.

For years, smoking opium was the most popular method for ingesting the drug. When inhaled, opiate chemicals enter the lungs and then are sent to the brain. Once these chemicals reach the brain, individuals can experience an intense high.

Opium products are often injected into a muscle or vein because it enters the bloodstream faster from there than any other route of administration. As a result, they feel euphoric effects more rapidly. Today, opium can be injected, eaten or taken in pill form. Opium is also mixed with marijuana and methamphetamine to create a drug called “black.”

Under the Controlled Substance Act, opium is a Schedule II drug. Schedule II substances are those that have a high potential for abuse and result in severe physical and psychological dependence, also called addiction.

When people are addicted to opium, their brain changes and their tolerance to a particular drug increases. Individuals may take the substance more frequently or in higher quantities to satisfy intense cravings. An opium addiction increases a person’s risk of experiencing an overdose.

People with an opium addiction struggle to carry out everyday tasks. They might struggle to fulfill responsibilities at school, work or home. In many cases, an opium addiction can cause physical and behavioral changes that can lead to long-term health complications.

Derived from opium, opioids have caused a public health crisis in the United States. The country is experiencing a painkiller epidemic that has led to the deaths of thousands of people in recent years. The opioid crisis is the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63,600 people died of a drug overdose in 2016. About 66 percent of these deaths involved an opioid. On average, 115 people in the United States experience a fatal opioid overdose.

The global production of poppy plants remains high. However, according to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board, the cultivation of poppy straw concentrations decreased slightly from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, about 422 ton of morphine was produced around the world.

The widespread availability of opium increases the chances that people can engage in opioid use, which also increase the risk of developing an opioid use disorder. If you’re dealing with an opium-related addiction, treatment may be needed to heal both physically and psychologically.

If you use opium and want to learn more about your substance use behaviors, take The Recovery Village’s self-assessment. These quizzes can help you recognize the presence of an opium addiction or dependence.

The Recovery Village offers treatment plans to people experiencing a wide range of substance use disorders, including those involving opioids. Trained addiction experts cater treatment plans to meet the specific needs of individuals. To learn more about how treatment can help you control your addiction, contact The Recovery Village today.

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