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Opiates are potent, dangerous, and easily accessible. This is why opiate abuse is one of the biggest drug-related problems in the world. In fact, you may have a few opiates in your medicine cabinet yourself.

The fact that opiates are prescription drugs that help deal with moderate to severe pain makes it much easier for illicit users to abuse them. They are taken recreationally because of the euphoric high they produce.

In fact, over 2 million people were estimated to abuse opioid painkillers in 2012. Only 467,000 of these were struggling with heroin (an illegal opiate). This makes prescription opiates one of the most common drug problems in the US, as well as the rest of the world.

This is a shame considering how helpful opiates could be when they are used properly.

Unfortunately, many people abuse their prescription because opiates make them feel good. These habit-forming drugs stimulate the brain’s reward system, making the user want to ingest more.

Predictably, this abuse of opiates can lead to tolerance, dependence, and even addiction. On this article we will be talking about the various ways opiates can destroy a person’s body, and why you should avoid misusing your prescription.

Opiate Abuse and its Potential Effects

It goes without saying that abusing opiates can have a serious negative impact on your health.

Even just the process of taking opiates recreationally can be dangerous. For example, in recreational settings people are prone to injecting the drug directly into their bloodstream, so as to experience immediate pleasure. This habit is made more dangerous by the fact that people often share a single needle while doing so.

This puts users at risk of several blood-borne illnesses such as HIV—the virus that causes AIDS.

Opiates are helpful when used within the prescribed dosage, but they are dangerous otherwise. These substances can harm every part of your body, which may lead to permanent damage if you’re not careful.

The intensity of adverse effects may vary from person to person. But even first time users are at risk of severe adverse effects like respiratory depression. That’s how potent these substances are, so it’s best not to abuse them.

Effects on the Nervous System

Opiates have various physical effects, but it also damages a person mentally. This is because the drugs mainly attack the brain. It is normally used to alter the way the mind perceives pain by flooding the brain with dopamine. It helps manage pain.

But when taken in high doses, it could mess with your brain’s reward centers, causing it to become adjusted to the presence of opiates. If the user develops tolerance and dependence, it becomes much harder to quit because of withdrawal. They will not only crave the drug due to chemical imbalance in their system, they will also experience withdrawal symptoms.

Behavioral changes may also occur. The person may become sleepy or exhausted for seemingly no reason. They may become depressed or anxious. Users may also slip into unconsciousness quite often.

Effects on the Respiratory System

Opiates may relax the body, but they also depress the nervous system while doing so. This slows down a person’s breathing—sometimes to the point of unconsciousness or even death.

Respiratory depression is one of the most fatal effects of opiate addiction, as it prevents the organs and brain from getting enough oxygen.

Overdosing on opiates puts the person at higher risk of respiratory depression.

Effects on the Digestive System

Quitting opiates often causes withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, and diarrhea. But abusing opiates causes other effects on a person’s digestive system.

Chronic opiate use may impact the muscles of your digestive system, causing severe constipation. It also presents other issues like obstruction of the small bowel and perforation.

The best thing to do is to look for an addiction treatment center near you so that a proper treatment plan can be made based on your condition. Through methods such as medical detox and behavioral therapy, withdrawal can be managed, and you can soon go back to living a sober life. This is safer compared to self-regulating or quitting the drug abruptly.

Don’t hesitate to seek help. A rehab facility can help you adjust to the drug-free lifestyle.

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