Side Effects Of Opiate Abuse
Opiates are very addictive. While fentanyl and Percocet are medically prescribed, others, like heroin, are acquired unlawfully and abused. The side effects associated with opiate abuse include the following:
- Effects on the Eyes – Opiate use may result in smaller eye pupils. This is a result of their effect on the nerves that serve the eyes. The effect of this is that partial blindness may be experienced since the size of the pupil determines the amount of light that enters the eyes. It is, therefore, possible to tell whether someone is abusing opiates by looking at the size of their pupils.
- Respiratory Depression – Respiratory depression is among the most serious side effects of opiate abuse. Opiates affect breathing by interfering with the part of the brain that controls it. This effect can lead to death due suffocation. Whether or not this condition takes effect depends upon on how much opiate has been used and for how long.
- Hypotension – Hypotension refers to low blood pressure. Opiates reduce the rate at which the heart beats, leading to insufficient oxygen in the body. They also constrict the lumen of blood vessels which is the work of the chemical component known as histamine. In the extreme, hypotension could cause heart attacks as the heart overworks trying to beat at the normal rate.
- Gastrointestinal Efftects – Opiates affect the smoothness of the intestinal wall. They can also affect the gallbladder, interfering with the production of bile. It may, therefore, take longer to free the stomach of food causing nausea. Vomiting may also occur, although this may be the work of the brain. Constipation is another possibility due insufficient digestion.
- Opiate Addiction – The use of opiates may lead to addiction. Individuals who are addicted to them feel compelled to take the drugs. Opiates have many effects on the body, one of which is euphoria. This can negatively affect the family structure as addicts are unable to derive happiness from their family members. They, instead, take more and more opiates hoping to get pleasure. Overdoses may take place as one attempts to get enough high. Addiction may also make the user combine opiates with other drugs. Alcohol is the most commonly used together with opiates. The effect of this could be death as this increases the rate at which the drug affects the body. Addicts have also been known to use any means necessary to get the drugs. Prescriptions have been altered leading to high dosage. Injuries can also be faked to get the drugs.
- Tolerance to Pain Pills – The body can become tolerant to other strong pain killers when exposed to opiates for some time. Due to their strength, opiates can make the body withstand the effect of drugs that they do not need to take which can increase the possibility of abuse. People who have become tolerant need larger amounts of drug to achieve the same result.
- Opiate Dependence – When one develops dependence to a drug, it becomes impossible for them to lead a normal life. The drug has to be taken on a day-to-day basis to enable the addict to be physically active.