Opiate usage is commonly seen in people who need opiates to help them deal with severe pain such as morphine, or orally administered tablets that contain opium such OxyContin or Percocet. Opiates are also used by people who take them to get a high from the drug and are taken illegally, some of which are illegal all together such as heroin.
However, no matter the type of opiate a person takes, all opiates are highly addictive and form rapid dependencies. Because of the highly addictive properties of opiates and the rapid dependency that comes with using opiates, opiate tolerance is inevitable for abusers and prolonged users of the drug.
Tolerance to opiates means that a person no longer gets the full effects of the drug when they take it. This means that a person who has developed an opiate tolerance will have to increase their dosage in order to get the initial feeling that they are used to.
According to www.drugabuse.gov, in the case of heroin or morphine, tolerance develops rapidly to the analgesic effects of the drug. Tolerance to drugs can be produced by several different mechanisms, but in the case of morphine or heroin, tolerance develops at the level of the cellular targets. For example, when morphine binds to opiate receptors, it triggers the inhibition of an enzyme (adenylate cyclase) that orchestrates several chemicals in the cell to maintain the firing of impulses. After repeated activation of the opiate receptor by morphine, the enzyme adapts so that the morphine can no longer cause changes in cell firing.
Once a person has developed an opiate tolerance they will no longer feel the same effect of the drug if they continue to take the same dosage.
Lowering Opiate Tolerance
There is nothing that a person can take to help them lower an opiate tolerance. The only way a person can lower their opiate tolerance is to stop taking the drug or to take less of the drug than they were taking before. In order to do this a person should find other ways to deal with the reasons behind using the drug. For example, if a person is taking an opiate for pain, they may want to talk to their doctor or find another pain reliver to use for a while. After a person has got the opiate out of their system for a while or has decreased their dosage and their body has adapted to the lower dosage, their tolerance level will have lowered.
The amount of time it takes to stay off of opiates to lower a tolerance level will differ from every person. But, if a person wants to lower their tolerances they should stick to the lower dosages or absence of the drug for as long as they can before increasing their dosage again. The longer a person stays off of the drug or takes the lower dosage of the drug the lower their tolerance will be.