Opium

Opiumn seeds of a poppy

Defining Opium

Opium (also known by its slang names Big O, Block, Chinese Molasses, and Black pill) is a highly addictive drug used as a pain reliever. It is derived from the dried latex in the bud of the poppy and resembles black tar. It contains alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, thebaine, and papaverine. The most popular and the safest way to take in opium is by smoking it, however it can also be taken intravenously with needles and orally with pills. Another way is to mix it with tea, but this is considered a risky way to use opium because of the strong likelihood of overdosing if drunk too fast.

People have reported that the opium high is similar to that of heroin. Like heroin, its use causes symptoms of euphoria and relaxation, and feeling pain fade away. When taken in small doses, opium has medicinal value, used for relieving pain. However, when the dosage is increased, the user may experience feelings of being high. It is important to take caution and exercise self-control because of its potentially harmful side effects and serious health risks if overdosed.

Side Effects of Opium

Short-Term

  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased energy
  • Confusion
  • Nausea

Long-Term

  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Addiction and Overdose

Because opium is a narcotic, it has the potential to be extremely addictive. If taken for too long, people can develop drug cravings, decreased tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms due to the addiction. The serious signs of abuse may consist of abnormal body temperature, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.

The most dangerous way to use opium is to combine it with any other central nervous system depressants and other substances such as alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, anesthetics. The mixture enters the body and gradually slows down the respiratory system, which could be potentially life-threatening and lead to overdose on opium. Symptoms of potential overdose may include:

  • Decreased energy
  • Slow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

A physician or health care professional should be contacted if opium is either used more than what is prescribed by a reliable source or if recreational use reaches an out of control level.

Treatment

The most efficient way to seek help is by entering a drug rehabilitation facility to treat opium addiction and abuse. Medical specialists and healthcare professionals can help come to the realization that the addiction is the problem and work to wean the user off of the opium addiction.

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