Opiates are a class of drugs that are some of the most powerful and addictive drugs on the planet. While they do have some very important medical uses, this does not mean they are harmless. Drugs in this class are originated from the poppy plant where they harvest the sap from inside the pods of mature plants. Drugs taken from the poppy plant make both legal and illegal drugs that are smoked, eaten, snorted, or injected.
How do Opioids Actually Work?
Some are even fully synthetic versions that are manufactured and meant to be much stronger than most natural products. Opiates work by acting on specific proteins known as opiate receptors in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and some other organs in the body. When an opiate attaches itself to these receptors, they modify how the brain perceives pain and produces feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
Information on Addiction to Opiates
Opiates have been addictive since the earliest reference of opium in history, which dates back to 3400 B.C. when poppy plants were cultivated in Mesopotamia and have been mentioned throughout history in nearly every civilization ever since. At around 460 B.C. was when Hippocrates acknowledged opium’s usefulness as a narcotic when he began to prescribe the juice of the white poppy. In 1806 was when a chemist by the name of Friedrich Adam Serturner first isolated a substance from opium, naming it morphine.
Thereafter, morphine became a mainstay for treating pain, anxiety, and respiratory issues by US doctors. In 1909 was many believed the official “war on drugs” in the United States began after Congress passed the Opium Exclusion Act which barred the importation of opium for smoking is due to the already lingering issue of addiction to the substance. A few years later in 1926 were when mass production of heroin was stopped also due to the high likelihood of dependence that is created.
More About Addiction to Opioids
Opiate use, dependence, and addiction nowadays are a very known problem that has seemingly gotten way out of hand despite the many attempts to combat it. According to the CDC:
From 1999–2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.
Nearly 130 people die every single day from an opioid or opiate overdose. It has not been since the HIV/AIDS epidemic that the United States has faced such a devastating and life-threatening health problem as the current one with opioids and opiates. To show you how deadly these drugs are, more people die each year from opiate and opioid-related deaths that the entirety of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and any other armed conflict since World War II combined.
Why Do People Get Addicted to Opiates?
When an opiate drug is taken, your brain records the feelings of pleasure that are produced. It will then cue the person to experience these feelings every time by taking more of the drug each time. When someone takes an opiate too often or in large amounts, the drug is less effective, but the brain still wants the feelings of pleasure that opiates provide.
The brain’s reward system combines with heightened tolerance encouraged a constantly increasing opiate use. It often gets to the point where a person will not just take the opiate to feel good, but they must take them to avoid feeling bad as tolerance increases. These are known as withdrawal symptoms, which are painful symptoms that occur when an addicted person does not take an opiate or does not take enough within a certain period.
If you or someone you love are abusing opiates and have become addicted, we are here to help you get sober and get your life back on track. We can help you understand the underlying reasons behind your addiction and find a great life in recovery. Now is the time to turn your life around. Let Recreate Life Counseling help you do it!