Opiates are made from the poppy plant to serve as painkillers like morphine, codeine and heroin. They are used to treat pain after surgery, injury or after developing a chronic issue, because they change the way the brain and body perceive pain to produce feelings of euphoria. This means that those who abuse opiates, even legitimately, can become addicted after just a few uses. Addiction results from tolerance, which means users will need more of the substance to produce the same level of relief. Opiates are widely prescribed in the US, and many people struggle with opiate abuse, but their cost and availability may encourage this. If you are addicted to opiates, seek professional help to get sober as soon as possible
Why People Abuse Opiates
People abuse opiates for many reasons, primarily to relieve pain. However, painkillers are prescribed for short-term treatment, so patients must combine them with less powerful drugs to treat chronic pain, as from cancer or injury. Despite this, opiates like heroin are popular street drugs used for recreational purposes. People who use heroin are at great risk of addiction, because they cause drug tolerance and dependence after just a few uses. As users realize they need more of the substance to get the same level of relief, they may be addicted already.
Availability of Opiates
Opiates are some of the most widely-prescribed drugs in the country, which means they are readily available. People who are dependent upon opiates try “doctor shopping” to get new prescriptions, while others seek different opiates when the drug they take no longer works well. Prescription opiates are also available as street drugs, as more and more people have access to prescriptions, so they can be purchased illegally. According to a report by BrandiesUniversity, in 2006 the total cost of non-medical use of prescription opioids was $53.4 billion dollars; that number has continued to climb.
How Opiate Addiction Develops
Opiate addiction begins in several ways. People who abuse opiates to treat pain after surgery may quickly become dependent on the drug, which means they need drugs to feel normal. This is especially true if people have family members who have abused drugs. On the other hand, people with an opiate prescription may have an untreated mental illness which can also increase the risk of addiction. Once someone is addicted to opiates, it is difficult for him to function normally without them. Many people who use opiates to treat pain do not plan to become addicted, but the risk of drug abuse is always there if you or a loved one has other risk factors.
Help for Opiate Addiction
Opiates are powerful painkillers that are highly addictive. If you or a loved one suffers from opiate abuse, we are here to help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator. We are ready to answer your questions about addiction and to help you find treatment, so reach out for professional treatment today.