Opiate Dependence Risk Factors

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About Opiates and Dependency

Opiates are painkillers that help people deal with mild to severe pain. Some opiates are legally prescribed to people by doctors, whereas other opiates, such as heroin, are manmade. Opium is the substance is which all opiates are made from and it has been used for centuries as an analgesic drug. Opiates work by blocking the neurotransmitters in a person’s brain which stops their body from recognizing pain. Opiates contain powerful sedative properties as well, causing a person’s respiratory and nervous system to slow down.

Opiates are a significant benefit to the medical field, such as the morphine administered via IV for people in hospice or in the hospital going through surgery. But, over the years people have continually increased with abusing opiates, causing the drugs to become an epidemic problem in society.

Opiates are the leading drug that people overdose on and are one of the top reasons for emergency room visits to hospitals in America. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008 there were 14,800 deaths that occurred from prescription pill overdoses. Moreover, over the last decade overdose deaths have continually increased, which is accredited to the 300% increase of sales with prescription painkillers.

Prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin are known as opioids, which are part of the opiate class of drugs. Opioid abuse has become a popular recreational activity for young adults to partake in and many people who use the drug, even legally, form addictions to the drug.

Opiate abuse leads to opiate dependency and when a person becomes dependent on opiates they will have to continue to take the drug for their body to function properly. Opiate dependency is dangerous and can cause a plethora of health problems to arise in a person’s life.

Opiate Dependence Risk Factors

dangers of opiates

Developing a dependency on opiates often leads to addiction.

Dependency to opiates poses numerous risks to a person’s health including the increase for organ damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and the risk of overdose. Overdosing on opiates can be fatal and can happen unexpectedly.

A person who has a dependency to an opiate will need to continually take the drug, which will most likely cause them to form a tolerance to the drug, resulting in them needing to take more and more of the drug. This cycle can lead to accidental overdoses, which can cause a person to end up in a coma or possible death. A person who has begun to form an opiate dependence or addiction should seek out help at an opiate treatment program before their addiction or dependency becomes worse.


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