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Opiate Addiction

February 6, 2010

 

Opiates are a well-known class of drugs which are derived from the poppy plant.  They have been utilized for many years mostly as pain relievers. The most common types of opiates include codeine, opium, morphine and heroin.  They are often prescribed in some form by doctors to individuals who suffer from some sort of pain whether it is chronic or due to a single incident, such as an injury or surgery. When prescribed by a physician and used according to their instructions opiates can be quite safe and very effective.  However, they also have the potential to be addictive.  This isn’t just the illegal form of the drug, heroin.  Individuals can also become addicted to prescription opiates.

 

Heroin is one of the most noted opiates. Many people associate high levels of abuse, addiction destruction, death and disease with the drug. Heroin deaths as the result of overdose are amongst the highest of any other type of illicit drug.  Individuals are also at an increased risk of transmitting HIV and hepatitis B or hepatitis C if they use heroin via needles.  The drug is also quite addicting and persons who have developed a dependency will need to enter some type of drug rehab program and possibly even detoxification. It can be quite dangerous to suddenly stop using heroin if a person has been doing it for a long amount of time or chronically.  This is especially true if a person is in poor health. Such individuals can die from withdrawal complications. 

 

As stated above, opiates used for legitimate pain relief can be addicting as well. In fact, they are amongst the most heavily abused prescription drugs in the United States.  Just as a person will likely require drug rehabilitation if they are addicted to heroin, an illicit opiate, the same is true for opiate pain relievers. Drug detoxification may be necessary as well. Detox can help curb withdrawal symptoms and safely wean a person off of the particular opiate they have become addicted to. 

 

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