Categories: Health & Fitness

Opium: effects, what are they?

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Derived from poppy latex, opium is an opiate like morphine, codeine and heroin. Initially consumed in inhaled form, opium is also used in painkillers. What are the health effects of opium?

Opium is a narcotic that can be prescribed by a doctor in the treatment of pain. When its use is misused in dopeit can be smoked or swallowed and causes a feeling euphoria and pleasure. Apart from the health risks and the impact on social life, taking opium can cause addiction that is hard to get out of. What are the consequences of opium? From what dose of opium is there a risk of overdose? What are the effects of opium? How to succeed in weaning?

Definition: what is opium?

The opium is obtained from the sap (or “latex”) of immature poppy seeds. It is particularly used in the Middle East and Southeast Asia to relax, relieve pain and during spiritual rites. In its misuse it is usually smoked or swallowed and engenders a feeling of euphoria and pleasure. Under medical supervision, it is used in certain painkillers to relieve pain particularly resistant to other drugs. These faculties are granted by the very composition of opium, which consists of phenanthrenes and of benzylisoquinolines. It is responsible for the synthesis of heroin, morphine and codeine. This is why it is rarely available in its initial form outside the countries of production.

Photo of opium poppy seed heads © brita123-123RF

Opium is a amazing which can be prescribed by a doctor in the treatment of pain. In its misuse, it is used by consumers in the form of inhalation with a opium pipe, or mixed into a cigarette as a joint.

What are the effects after taking opium?

The effects are usually very quick after taking, especially when inhaled and persists for 3 to 6 hours. The user quickly feels an effect relaxing, anxiolytic and sedative which gives him an intense well-being. At higher doses, he may even feel hallucinations.

What are the long term effects of opium?

In the long term, repeated use of opium causes the same effects as all morphine, namely a constipation, libido and menstrual cycle disorders. Addiction is generally very rapid, with a phenomenon of habituation and addiction, that is to say that the consumer must constantly increase the doses and the frequency to feel the same effect. The consequences on his personal and professional life set in quickly, with a risk of marginalization, legal problems, and conflict with those around you.

What are the risks of opium in pregnancy?

According to the CRAT (Reference Center on Teratogenic Agents), if a pregnant woman consumes opium, the risks are not malformative but rather induction of a child withdrawal syndrome at birth and a significant stress during pregnancylinked to addiction, which is likely to cause premature births and miscarriages. It is therefore preferable to be treated with a replacement therapy throughout this period.

What are the consequences of opium addiction?

Following repeated use, without medical supervision, opium consumption can induce addiction. As with heroin, the consumer feels the need to increase the doses, first in quantity, then in frequency to find the same effects. The violence of the lack is very often at the origin of a new consumption, thus feeding addiction and obsession consumer thoughts. The consequences on personal and professional life are generally rapids and can lead to precariousness, financial, family and legal difficulties.

If you stop regular opium use, a severe withdrawal syndrome appears. It is usually very intense and painful, and can sometimes last more than a week, but it is not life-threatening. In the hours following the disappearance of the effects: the consumer begins to have a tearingA runny nosehe yawns, feels nauseousmay have vomiting, diarrheamuscle cramps, deep pain in the limbs, lower back and abdominal pain, of the sweats, chills, and feeling hot and cold. His pupils are dilated (contrary to what happens during consumption) and he feels a sense of faintness and anxiety accompanied by significant insomnia.

To help addicted opium users in their withdrawal, substitution treatment has been available since 1994: methadone and buprenorphine (Subutex®). The goal of this prescription treatment is to limit withdrawal symptoms and long-term relapse. It allows you to live a normal life and treat cravings. For the prescription and delivery of the treatment, support by an addictologist in private practice, in the hospital or in a CSAPA (Centres for Care, Support and Prevention in Addictology) is preferable. A psychotherapy and social care are also recommended to treat this addiction. Certain therapies such as CBT (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy) have proven themselves in this type of addiction.

To prevent the transmission of certain infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, herpes, Staphylococci, fungi, candidiasis, or influenza, there is now a free kit for opium smokers (and crack). Available in all CSAPAs, CAARUDs (Reception and Support Center for Risk Reduction for Drug Users) and pharmacies, it contains a pipe and items for personal use to avoid sharing equipment. It allows you to avoid making your own pipe with dangerous materials.

Opium and overdose: from what quantity?

Opium overdose can occur from the first use if it exceeds the dose tolerated by the consumer. When consumption is more frequent, it is not uncommon for the dependent user to need to increase the doses to feel the same effect and thus go from one gram to 30 grams of opium per day, for example.

► Given the risk of overdose and hallucinations related to opium consumption, it is recommended to do not consume alone, but always with people who can give the alert if necessary. Also avoid mixtures of opiates, especially with heroin and methadone as you risk a potentially fatal overdose.

Learn more about Drugs info service 0800 23 13 13 (every day from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., anonymous and free call).

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