Saturday, April 8, 2017

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Opioid Abuse

Opioid abuse refers to the misuse of drugs such as opium derivatives (heroin, morphine) or synthetic drugs such as methadone. Opium is dried latex taken from the opium poppy. It contains about 12% morphine, which is then processed into heroin for the illegal drug trade. Opioids are used for their analgesic (pain relieving) effects in medicine, especially in terminal patients. They are also abused for their euphoric effects.

If opioids are used continuously, they can cause psychological dependence in two to ten days, and thus are extremely addictive. They are often injected, snorted or smoked.

The signs of opioid dependence are:
  • Having compulsion or desire to take the drug 
  • Having trouble controlling use 
  • Having “withdrawal” symptoms when not using the drug 
  • Having a tolerance to the drug - meaning that more of the drug may be needed to produce a high 
  • Neglecting alternative interests or pleasurable activities 
  • Continuing to use despite the harm to you or others Overdose symptoms include: 
  • Shallow breathing 
  • Slowed pulse • Clammy skin 
  • Pulmonary oedema (a build-up of fluid in the lungs) 
  • Respiratory arrest 
  • Convulsions 
  • Coma or possible death
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