Opiates are drugs that come from nature, specifically the opium of the poppy plant. Opioids are drugs that have been synthetically created to mimic the naturally occurring opium–in other words, artificial opiates. While there are legitimate medical uses for both opiates and opioids, such as pain management, many are misused for recreational purposes. Furthermore, these drugs are highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed by a doctor. While many people may use the terms “opiate” and “opioid” interchangeably, the truth is that both can be addictive and misused. Opioids are part of a sweeping epidemic in America. From coast to coast, people of all ages and backgrounds are falling into opiate addiction. When recreational use develops into addiction, a drug and alcohol rehab center is the best choice for returning to a life of sobriety.
Why Do People Take Opiates?
Doctors prescribe opiates and opioids to treat chronic pain. When individuals get these drugs without a prescription, they’re abusing them for the high they create. The most popular opiates individuals abuse include:
- Heroin addiction
- Morphine addiction
- Codeine addiction
Some man-made forms of opiates include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
Opiates create euphoria and intense relaxation, making them the perfect “escape” drugs. One of the most common signs of opiate use is “nodding off” while talking or doing other things. This nodding off is a sign of the opiate taking effect and numbing the person’s senses.
There are many reasons why people start using opiates, however. Some people start taking painkillers that their doctor prescribed because of real, chronic pain. They become too dependent upon the medication, and when the prescription runs out, they turn to drug-seeking behavior. They may try to borrow, buy, or steal drugs from friends and family in an attempt to satisfy their dependency, for example. They may move into buying illegal opiates, like heroin, or man-made opioids like fentanyl, when they can no longer access prescribed medication.
Still, others use opiates as a form of self-medication, much as some people drink alcohol to self-medicate. They may not be aware they have a treatable mental condition like depression, anxiety, ADHD, or PTSD. When they take heroin or other opiates, these people often feel less troubled. Drug abuse has roots in mental illnesses quite often, and it is not unusual for individuals with a substance dependency to also have a mental health disorder.
Regardless of why people use opiates, there is generally one of two outcomes to their personal opiate abuse story. That is, they either enter an opiate addiction treatment program, or they become one of the thousands each year who die from an opiate overdose.
Why Is Opiate Addiction so Dangerous?
Opiate addiction is a growing cause of death in the United States today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012. That means every American adult could have had at least one legal opioid prescription that year. Abuse of these prescriptions is common and often leads to opiate addiction.
Heroin offers its users a much cheaper high than similar prescription painkillers. It’s also much more widely available on the street. As patients develop a tolerance to their prescription medication and grow tired of trying to find doctors that will write them new prescriptions, turning to heroin is almost a logical next step. Sadly, this step may be one of their last.
The risk of overdosing on heroin or other opiates is exceptionally high. Over time, to get the same high, a person must use more of the drug. Each higher dose is a gamble toward potential overdose, a condition that often leads to death. Talk to any frequent heroin user, and you’ll likely hear stories of people they know who have died while trying to satisfy an opiate addiction.
A Way Out of Opiate Abuse and Addiction
It’s possible to leave opiate addiction behind you. Many people seek help from addiction rehab programs each year and successfully enter lifelong recovery. You can achieve recovery, too, through a treatment plan that meets the full spectrum of your needs. A comprehensive, personalized treatment plan may include clinical, evidence-based services as well as holistic therapies. These services may include:
- Medically assisted detox
- Gender-specific men’s rehab and women’s rehab
- 12-step programs
You may also benefit from residential treatment or an intensive outpatient rehab program, all designed to give you the help you need to live a long and fulfilling life. San Antonio Recovery Center in San Antonio, Texas, offers these individualized treatment programs to help you gain the sobriety you covet.
Call San Antonio Recovery Center now at 866.957.7885 for more information about available programs.