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Can You Get Addicted to Opiates?

Prescription drug addiction and death due to overdose has become an epidemic in the United States. Painkillers that doctors prescribed are usually opiate based medications. Opiates are prescribed to patients who have injured themselves or are recovering from surgery. These drugs are very useful in helping patients with acute or chronic pain, but can be highly addictive over time.

Opiates are a class of drugs that, in addition to alleviating pain, also produce feelings of euphoria. It is because of the “high” that people get from them that they become addictive. Over time, people build up a tolerance to the drug and need more to achieve the desired effect.

When users run out of their prescribed medication, they turn to illegal means of obtaining them. Because the cost of buying pain medications on the street is so high, people can end up turning to heroin because it is cheaper.

Some of these opiate based drugs include

When patients stop taking prescription drugs after long term use, they experience withdrawal symptoms. Detox from opiate based medications can include symptoms like:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Intense craving
  • Anxiety and
  • Depression

Heroin is a highly addictive street drug. Users can inject it, snort it or smoke it. It produces a feeling of well-being, lessens emotional pain and reduces physical pain. Many heroin addicts start out abusing prescription drugs.

Long term users of heroin can experience effects like:

  • Vein collapse
  • Infections of the heart
  • Skin abscesses
  • Digestive problems
  • Pneumonia and other lung issues and
  • Liver and kidney disease

Users who inject heroin are at risk of contracting a communicable disease due to sharing needles or using dirty needles. Some of these diseases include hepatitis and HIV.

Quitting heroin “cold turkey” is very difficult. The withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opiates, but can be more intense. Instead, many users turn to other detox options like methadone or suboxone, to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

Detoxing from opiates must be done in a professional medical setting. Not only are there risks from the withdrawal symptoms, but many users can’t get through withdrawal without significant support. When the person’s body has gone without the drug for some time, it’s no longer accustomed to the high doses the person usually uses. This leads to overdoses and death. This is why it’s so important for a person to be in a medical facility during withdrawal.

Opiate addiction is on the rise in the United States. The prevalence of prescription drugs makes it easy for teens and young adults to start abusing them early on. If you or someone you love is addicted to opiates, contact a medical professional for detox information.
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Can You Get Addicted to Opiates?
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