Cultivated in the Mediterranean region for centuries, opium can be found in several countries globally. Opium is a non-synthetic (natural) narcotic used to produce codeine, morphine, and heroin. It’s available as a liquid or powder. Opium can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken in pill form. Many opium users will take opium in combination with other drugs such as marijuana and meth to enhance the effects.
Common street names for opium include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Big O
- Black Pill
- Dover’s Powder
- Dream Gun
- Dream Stick
- God’s Medicine
- Joy Plant
- Midnight Oil
Effects of Opiates and Opioids
Opiate and opioid-based drugs affect the same brain receptors and have pretty much identical effects on the nervous system. Opiates are derived naturally, and the term opioids is used for drugs derived from opiates but are partially or fully synthetic (human-made).
As an opiate, opium works by depressing the nervous system (CNS) and reducing respiratory function. Smoking opium causes effects very soon after use because the opiate chemicals pass into the lungs and are instantly absorbed and transmitted to the brain. Moreover, when opium is ingested orally, the effects will be more gradual and less intense because the drug has to be processed through the digestive system.
An opium high is similar to the effects of heroin users experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and pain relief. The psychological effects also include feelings of warmth, apathy, and a short period of unconsciousness, commonly known as “nodding out.”
Smoking opium raises the risk of the following:
- Dry mouth
- Dryness of nasal mucous
The full impact of smoking opium will also depend on the amount a person ingests, for how long, and whether they combine it with other substances. The most common opium overdose symptoms include erratic, slowed, or stopped breathing, dizziness, weakness, seizures, unconsciousness, coma, and death.
While opioids are prescribed to alleviate acute pain, extended use can lead to abuse, tolerance, physical dependence, and full-blown addiction. Opioid addiction is a significant contributor to overdose fatalities in the U.S. In 2019, there were 70,630 deadly overdoses, and opioids were responsible for most of these deaths.
Opium Withdrawal Symptoms
Like all other substances in the opioid drug category, using this substance for prolonged periods will likely result in physical dependence and opium withdrawal. Opium withdrawal occurs once the body and brain have become accustomed to a constant supply of endorphins.
Common opium withdrawal symptoms include shakiness, sweating, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, bone and muscle aches and pain, and restlessness. Opium withdrawal typically lasts between 3-7 and usually peaks around day three and subsides after that. Some individuals may still be showing acute detox symptoms after a week.
About Opiate and Opioid Addiction
To fully understand opioid abuse and addiction, it’s essential to know why these drugs are so addictive. They are addictive because of their action in a person’s central nervous system and the intense feelings of well-being they can induce. The brain and body consider these feelings to be rewarding, so repeated use becomes desirable.
Initial signs and symptoms that someone is smoking opium include nausea, confusion, and constipation. Finding drug paraphernalia is also another indicator. Long-term use can lead to tolerance, meaning a person needs an ever-increasing amount of the drug to experience the sought-after effects. Opium use can also result in physical and psychological dependence and addiction.
A person can be diagnosed with addiction if they are encountering adverse consequences due to their obsessive need to engage in drug use. Despite efforts to stop, they often develop withdrawal symptoms and find it highly challenging to do so.
Seeking Professional Help
Once an individual shows signs of substance abuse or addiction, seeking professional treatment is vital for avoiding life-threatening complications. Fortunately, however, struggling with this condition doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
Our comprehensive treatment programs at Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery help people work toward a clean and sober life. Therapeutic services and activities we provide include the following:
- Medical detox
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- 12 step group support
- Relapse prevention
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Dual diagnosis
- Art and music therapy
- Mindfulness meditation
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni activities