The abuse of drugs and substances is a trendy issue in this generation and society of today; many individuals struggle with drug and substance abuse. Individuals use and consume these drugs and substances for various reasons. Peer pressure is often a major factor in substance use, while others use it to help them temporarily escape from depression and forget about their problems. Some started out using these drugs as prescribed by their doctors but end up dependent on the drugs prescribed to them.
Arguably some of these drugs and substances have their medical and scientific benefits. For instance, you hear about the use of medical marijuana or certain opioids like morphine used for treating pains, especially severe ones.
However, the side effects of using drugs and substances far outweigh the benefits. The abuse of opioids has become critical in many countries because there is a high mortality rate resulting from individuals overdosing on opioids, aside from its numerous other side effects. Unfortunately, the impact of this addiction is not just felt by the abuser of the drug, but also by his relatives, friends, and the entire society that he lives in.
In this article, you will learn about what Opioids are, their benefits, how an individual can get addicted to them, the side effects, and how their usage affects everyone.
What Are Opioids?
They refer to a large group of medications that a doctor prescribes typically to help treat and relieve pain, especially really serious and excruciating ones. Opioids can be used in two ways; either as a form of medication prescribed by the doctor to help in relieving severe pain or as a drug that an individual abuses.
Opioids come from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant, which originates from Asia.
Some of the drugs that fall under the category of opioids are morphine, codeine, fentanyl, Oxycontin, heroin, Vicodin, and many more. It is also important to note that not all opioids are derived from the poppy plant. Some opioids are created scientifically. Opioids created artificially or scientifically are referred to as “synthetic opioids.”
When opioids are consumed, they usually bind and interact with the opioid reactor cells in your brain, spinal cord, and other organs in your body to replace the feeling of pain with that of pleasure and calm. One example of a commonly used artificial opioid is “Fentanyl”; tramadol and methadone are also some common examples of synthetic opioids.
Opioids can be administered in different ways. While some can only be administered in just a single form, others can be administered in various forms. Opioids can be ingested as a pill, transfused as a form of IV or injection inserted into the vein (intravenously), placed as a patch on the skin, or it could also be inserted into the rectum (rectal suppository).
The Benefits Of Using Opioids?
One major benefit of using opioids or why they are prescribed medically is that they help to relieve pain no matter how serious in the body. They are known as very effective and strong analgesics. If you have had someone go through surgery or someone who had a severe accident and is recovering, there is a very high possibility that they were prescribed opioids to help reduce the pain.
They also help individuals dealing with certain illnesses and diseases like cancer to manage the excruciating pain that comes with these illnesses. The use of opioids medically is usually closely monitored to avoid the patient becoming addicted to them.
How Can You Get Addicted to the Use Of Opioids?
If you are ingesting or taking opioids, you should keep in mind that there is a high chance that you can get addicted to them. This is why doctors who prescribe opioids for their patients supervise them closely. One thing you need to understand about addictions is that the body system of every individual is different, and so is our rate of tolerance. The number of opioids you consume that would cause you to get high and addicted is different from the amount another person would take, resulting in him getting high and addicted. Another factor is the dosage and type of opioids used.
It can be arguably said that opioids are severe and powerful additives because of their functions in brain cells. As mentioned earlier, opioids are used to help manage excruciating pain in an individual. The way opioids work is by replacing the feeling of pain with that of pleasure in the individual’s brain. When opioids get into the body system, they trigger certain chemicals in the brain and nervous system known as endorphins. Endorphins are popularly referred to as “feel-good chemicals” because they help to remove feelings of pain and discomfort.
Continuous use of opioids, especially when there is no form of medical monitoring or when it is taken in illegal doses, can lead to a person becoming addicted to it. There is the urge to continue using it just to have that feeling of pleasure.
The Negative Effects of Using Opioids
Using opioids without any form of medical advice or using it illegally can cause multiple adverse effects in a person. The first effect, which is the foundation upon which every other side effect is built, is an addiction to opioids. Other harmful side effects it may have on its consumer are respiratory issues, hormonal imbalance, dysfunction, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and many more.
Once a person becomes addicted to these drugs, he acts like his life depends on them. Opioids usually have a physical and psychological negative effect on their users. Overdosing on opioids can lead to death; the fact is that the mortality rate resulting from opioid abuse is very high.
You often see people struggling with such addictions exhibiting erratic behaviors and signs that they never used to do before. They become irrational, reckless, careless, and restless.
How Does The Use of Opioids Affect Everyone?
The sad reality is that it is not only the individual that abuses the drugs that suffer from the harmful side effects. The friends and family also share in it indirectly.
Imagine an individual who was all good mentally and physically before and suddenly just starts to act out. The family and friends of such individuals would begin to panic and worry. Imagine if the person is the primary provider of that family. The family finances can suffer because anyone addicted to a substance would spend all his money on it to ensure that he doesn’t run out of it. One way it can affect the family and friends of such individuals is that their finances can take a turn from good to bad.
Another side effect of opioid use is emotional and psychological stress. The stress of first coming to terms with the fact that your loved one has become addicted to opioids is one of the initial side effects. After coming to terms with it, there is the stress of getting the addict to come to terms with the fact that they have an addiction. After they acknowledge there is a problem and that they need treatment, there is the stress of getting them to a drug abuse medical expert, assisting them in every way when dealing with withdrawal symptoms, therapy sessions, etc.
For the society at large, there is a high rate of mortality resulting from the indiscriminate use of opioids. Different data show that the number of people who die every year from opioid abuse and overdose is a lot. In the United States (US), for example, as of the year 2018, about 50,000 people died due to the abuse of opioids. The mortality rate always causes population growth reduction, which may result in underpopulation.
Those who become addicts can end up becoming some form of a nuisance for society. Imagine being cash strapped and not being able to buy the opioids. Such as an individual can result stealing just to afford to purchase the opioids. The irrational behavior exhibited by the individual as a result of being overdosed and high can cause him to begin to pick up fights with not only his friend and family but even random strangers.
Whatever is to be used is best used moderately. Drugs are no exceptions to the rule of being moderate. If you are experiencing excruciating pain, instead of taking medications on your own, the best decision is to visit a doctor. The chances of getting addicted to opioids and overdosing on them are very slim once you are using them under your medical doctor’s strong advice and instructions. The effect of the usage of opioids is not just felt by the user but also by his family and friends and even the community and society at large.