Addiction of Opiates

Heroin, Codeine, papaverine and morphine all are related drugs, as they all have the same source. These drugs are deprived from the latex produced from the plant opium, which is scientifically called papaver somniferum from the family papaveracea, by incision.

Generally, drugs that are deprived from this plant are called opioids.

Clinically: Opioids are considered as narcotic analgesics, they are usually combined with anesthetics. They also can be used as cough sedatives and astringent in diarrhea. But the abuse of these drugs without consulting a physician or a pharmacist always leads to dependency and then addiction.

This article will focus on the pharmacological effect of opioids, the symptoms that result from their abuse and withdrawal and how to treat or overcome their addiction.

1- Let’s start with Morphine:
It’s the most strong sedative, it changes the way of perception of pain, it’s given mainly as injection before and after operations and during anesthesia, also acts as gastric sedative.

Although the CLINICAL doses DO NOT CAUSE ADDICTION. It’s highly addictive, the body builds up tolerance to it so larger and larger doses may be necessary to have the same effect. Morphine also depresses the function of the brain center that controls respiration so high doses of morphine can kill by respiratory arrest.

Morphine interacts mainly with the opioid receptors in certain brain cells and other anatomical structures as the gastrointestinal tract and the urinary bladder.

Effects of morphine on the body include:
1- Pin point pupil.
2- vomiting.
3- decrease the reflex effect of cough.
4- Morphine decreases the respiratory rate by depression of respiratory centers, which may cause death by overdosing.
5- Analgesia.
6- Morphine activates the reward system of the brain leading to the sense of contentment.
7- morphine releases histamine from mast cells leading to urticaria
8- Increases the secretion of growth hormone.

Dependence and Tolerance to the drug:
Dependence to morphine occurs due to its effects of depression, sedation and analgesia.

Withdrawal produces a series of autonomic, motor, and psychological responses that incapacitate the individual and cause serious symptoms, although it is rare that the effects cause death.

2- Codeine:
Codeine is a moderately strong opiate drug that is used in pain relief when combined with acetaminophen and for the suppression of coughs at doses that don’t cause analgesia. Codeine crosses the blood brain barrier and activates the reward system in the brain by stimulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.

Some individuals use for legal medical purposes, but over time develop an addiction problem. After prolonged use an individual develops a tolerance for this substance and needs to take more and more of the drug in order to feel the effects.

3- Heroin:
Heroin is considered an opiate not an opioid as it’s synthesized partially in a lab by the acetylation of morphine.

Heroin is highly addictive opiate drug which is considered to be the most common of them.

Heroin is more potent than morphine

Most street heroin is cut with substances as sugar or starch or powdered milk, therefore heroine abusers don’t actually know the true strength of the drug, and they are at high risk of overdose and death.

Heroine is commonly injected, sniffed or smoked.

Treatment of addiction of opiates:
It’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives.

Apomorphine: is a substance which is administered to the addict ( primarily heroin addicts) for approximately seven days leading to detoxifying the addict’s body with little or no side effects.

Methadone: which was developed by the Nazis during the world war II after the shortage of morphine, doctors where able to discover a drug that not only worked, but also lasted for a long time.

Buprenorphine: partial agonist that has mild opiate effects and reduces withdrawal cravings ( popular in France)

Doloxine: psychotic way to detoxification, but the side-effects are nasty.

Naltrexone: antagonist.

Codeine – The Dangers

Codeine addiction affects people in many different parts of the world, especially in places where it is available to purchase without a prescription. If taken in unmoderated doses over a long period of time, codeine addiction can result.

This isn’t surprising when you look into where Codeine actually comes from. Codeine comes from the poppy flower, the same source as morphine and heroin; it acts as a powerful painkiller. This prescription drug is used to treat such minor ailments as headaches, pain, anxiety and hypertension. Long-term Codeine abuse can cause many different health problems for the user.

When a drug has addiction potential and is freely available from pharmacies and supermarkets, this can result in consumers using more than the recommended dose. It is possible to start building a tolerance that inevitably leads to using in greater and greater quantities. If one Codeine pill doesn’t cure your headache, then two will, if two doesn’t work, then four will and so on.

A decrease in sex drive is the main indicator that someone is abusing Codeine. There are other signs that could indicate Codeine abuse such as drowsiness and slow motor skills.

Codeine addiction is just as serious as heroin or morphine abuse and should be treated by admission into a drug rehabilitation centre. The addict will try to consume Codeine in any way that is available. This includes, but is not limited to, oral use, smoking, and injected.

When the addict is using, they will experience euphoria, and will try to reach that same peak every time they use. This means increased dosages over time. As with most varieties of addiction, a Codeine addict may try and manage their dependency for a time. Eventually, their life becomes unmanageable and the user will begin to withdraw from society.

Anyone can become addicted to Codeine, especially if you’re using it on a long-term basis for acute or chronic pain. Codeine is also a popular recreational drug. It produces the same kind of high as heroin and suppresses emotional physical pain. There is also a common practice of mixing alcoholic beverages with Codeine to heighten the effects. These cocktails are extremely dangerous and can lead to an accidental overdose.

Defeating an addiction to Codeine is not easy. Withdrawal symptoms include: a racing heart beat, sweating, twitching, stomach pain, fever and vomiting.

Codeine abuse has long term physical effects that can cause health complications later in life. There are drug rehabilitation centers available that can help the addict to detox and cope with the withdrawal effects.

Much like a heroin or morphine addict, Codeine addiction is not something a user can beat on their own. Many rehab centres offer counselling services for family and friends. If you or a family member are suffering from Codeine addiction there are many medical services professionals who can help you find a place to recover and regain your life.

Legal But Deadly: Opiod Addiction

This is written for those who have fallen victim to addiction. Whether you were born into a wealthy family, or one suffering in poverty, addiction does not discriminate. Majority of the population in the United States do not have a true understanding of addiction as it is. Many of us think a certain person’s addiction is not as serious because it is legal. It could very possibly be legal, by prescription or doctor’s order. However it does not mean it is harmless. Anything that is not over the counter (OTC) can be potentially deadly.

Did you know that most addictions to opiates (i.e. codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and heroin) and opioids (i.e. methadone, suboxone) start off with an injury or illness? It’s true. Automobile accidents, tooth aches, headaches, back pain, sports or on-the-job injuries occur every day. There were over six million automobile accidents in the United States in 2005. Because of that, nearly 3 million people were injured. Every year, approximately 4 million employees suffer from work related injuries. Most of these victims have been treated or prescribed with a pain medication of one form or another. No wonder the pharmaceutical industries are multi-billion dollar industries.

Pain medication is the second highest abused drug in the United States, after marijuana. Usually when a victim starts noticing that they are abusing prescription pain medications, they are already experiencing withdrawals. These withdrawals can be excruciating. Methadone and suboxone are known to help those who are coming off of opiates and opioids. Methadone has potential health risks which include the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), irregular breathing, osteoporosis as well as sexual dysfunction.

Suboxone is both an opioid blocker and an opioid. It does have the effect of blocking the receptors however it is still a mild opioid. It produces sensations similar to morphine, codeine and heroin however with a lower euphoric effect. Therefore it is easier to get off of. If a person desires to use suboxone, they should start while going through withdrawals. If a person is using before the withdrawal symptoms start, this can cause the person to be violently sick. This can cause undesirable want to continue the treatment. Keep in mind that in order to be certain that you are weaning yourself off of an opiate or opioid, some discomfort is normal. Otherwise you are still feeding to your addiction.

Both methadone and suboxone are legal if they are prescribed and taken as ordered. However, take note that they are both narcotics and can be addictive. Overdose can still occur. Finding them sold illegally in the streets is a possibility as well. Therefore if someone is unable to control their dosage, it is advised for that person to do an inpatient medical detoxification which is under a physician’s guidance. These drugs also have a longer half-life. Which means it takes longer to get out of a person’s system. A single tablet can remain in the victim’s body for up to five days although the effects are lower. With more and more doses, this means that the chances of overdose are great. Longer half-life also means that the withdrawal symptoms will last longer and be of more extreme. They can be more painful than heroin and other opiates themselves.

Any kind of treatment should be used to better a person. Not to enable a person to keep feeding the addiction they are suffering from. Sometimes the victims of addiction think that this is a good way to feed their dependency without the side effects of withdrawals. This is where drug abuse becomes legal and in a number of years, they find themselves no longer addicted to heroin, morphine or etc. However now they are hooked on methadone or suboxone.