Opium Drug Facts | A Center for Addiction Recovery

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Information provided below is courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Opium Overview

Opium Addiction TreatmentOpium is a narcotic derived from the seed pod of a poppy plant. It works by increasing smooth muscle tone and decreasing fluid secretions in the intestines. This slows the movement of bowel matter through the intestines. Opium preparation (sometimes called "opium tincture" or "paregoric") is used to treat diarrhea. Opium preparation is sometimes given with other anti-diarrhea medication such as kaolin and pectic (Kaopectate). Traditionally the unripened pod is slit open and the sap seeps out and dries on the outer surface of the pod. The resulting yellow-brown latex, which is scraped off of the pod, is bitter in taste and contains varying amounts of alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, thebaine and papaverine.

Opium Signs of Abuse

People who use or abuse Opium will eventually display various signs and symptoms of their drug habit; still, not all Opium abusers will be the same, as some use Opium differently and in different quantities. It all depends on the level of dependency, which can easily be life-threatening if not medically supervised. Opium withdrawal is one of the worst fears of any individual suffering from addiction making it the hardest drug to quit in the world. Here are some signs of Opium abuse:

  • Confused thinking/loss of coordination
  • Speech is slurred
  • A constant runny nose
  • The need to wear long sleeves and pants often
  • Frequently lies
  • Speech is slurred
  • Weight loss
  • Personality changes
  • Excessive sleeping

Effects of Opium Abuse

Opium can cause euphoria, followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness or sedation. Breathing slows, potentially to the point of unconsciousness and death with large doses. Other effects can include nausea, confusion and constipation. Use of opium with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or general anesthetics, increases the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from Opium addiction may lead to harsh symptoms and uncomfortable effects on the body, such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to Sleep

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