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Back in 2010, around 12 million people admitted that they were abusing opioids. Statistics also show that three out of four current heroin users were previously abusing opioids.

We know that these substances can be dangerous. They can cause addiction, dependence, and several other adverse effects. Overdosing on these opioids can even be fatal in some instances.

So the question is: why do manufacturers still produce these substances? Why are opioids still created within the conventional pharmaceutical industry itself? The answer is really simple: opioids have their benefits—and not just from a business perspective.

On this article, we’re going to dive deeper into what opioids are: what makes them beneficial, and what makes them dangerous.

The Dangers of Opioid Abuse

Before we get into further detail about the health benefits of opioids, let us first discuss why these substances should not be abused in any way. These potent substances are highly addictive. Taking high doses can lead to addiction, tolerance, and dependence.

Abusing this drug is not a good idea—you can tell by how the number of deaths from opioid abuse outnumbers the deaths from every other illicit drug combined.

Despite the risk of death, some people still take opioids because of the euphoria they provide. These substances relax the body, inhibit pain, and make the user feel good. You can tell that a person is high on opioids if they seem sedated, elated, or confused.

They may have constricted pupils, they may become constipated, and they can even lose consciousness. Opioid abuse can even slow a person’s breathing.

If someone develops physical dependence, they may find it much harder to quit the drug. They will exhibit intense withdrawal symptoms every time they attempt to stop their opioid intake. Common withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and even respiratory depression.

The Benefits of Opioids

Opioids should not be misused. But it is time to discuss why these substances haven’t been taken off the market yet, or considered illegal.

Opioids are actually prescription drugs that help treat pain ranging from moderate to severe. They are painkillers—also known as narcotics. They help patients recover from conditions like cancer pain, post-surgical pain, and traumatic pain.

As you can see, the problem isn’t in the drugs themselves, but in the manner they are used. The only reason these drugs are dangerous is because people misuse their prescriptions. And you can probably guess that using opioids outside of your prescription is illegal.

Opioids and opiates are two terms that are often used interchangeably. They are technically different from one another. Opioids refer to the semi-synthetic and synthetic derivatives, while opiates refer to the natural derivatives of the opium poppy plant.

Regardless of these technical definitions, these two words are often used interchangeably in common usage. Even the word “narcotics” are used in law enforcement to talk about all kinds of illegal drugs, even when narcotics are actually just opiates and opioids.

Most opioids are available via prescription—which is what makes them so easy for illicit users to abuse. But certain opiates are illegal, and that includes heroin.

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Opioids: Are They Good or Bad?

The answer to this question really depends on how you use them. If you’re responsible enough to stick with your prescription, then they can help you recover from pain. In fact, even though 12 million people admitted to abusing their prescription opioids in 2010, the 198 million remaining opiate prescriptions given that year were presumably used properly.

If you are addicted to opioids, the best way to deal with it is through a combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy. Look for an addiction treatment center near you so that this can be done properly. Do not try to self-regulate, because you might only relapse.

Seek professional help today, and don’t let addiction ruin your life.

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