Opium Addiction

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. History of Opium
  3. Effects of Opium
  4. Opium Withdrawal Symptoms
  5. Street Names
  6. Risks of Opium Abuse

Opium is made from the opium poppy, a gentle-looking flower now widely cultivated in Afghanistan specifically for the drug trade. Derivatives from the opium poppy include morphine and codeine, which are found in the latex that the poppy produces.

History of Opium

opium-userOpium production hasn't changed much since ancient times and has been used as a recreational drug in China since the 15th century. It was an expensive habit, due to the rarity and high cost of the drug at that time. Once the trade for opium became more regular in the 17th century, the custom became to mix it with tobacco for smoking, which is when addiction to this substance was first recognized. Prohibition of opium in China was instilled in 1729, yet use continued to increase for nearly two centuries. Worldwide opium production in 2006 was almost one-fifth the level of production in 1906, at 6,610 metric tons.

There were no legal restrictions on the importation or use of opium in the United States until the early 1900s. Since the availability of opium was unrestricted, and the hypodermic needle had just been invented, opium contributed to the more severe type of compulsive drug abuse seen at the turn of the 20th century. Medicines often contained opium without notice or warning on the label. State, federal and international laws now govern the production and distribution of narcotics such as opium.

Did You Know?

The opium poppy is thought to have first been cultivated in Mesopotamia in 3400 BC.

Effects of Opium

Opium looks like a black or brown block of tar-like substance, and it is usually smoked. An addict who requires opium addiction treatment experiences the short-term effects of opium as:

  • Euphoria
  • Sense of well-being
  • A calm drowsiness or sedation
  • Breathing slows down, which can render the user unconscious and precipitate death in larger doses
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

Opium creates dependence in users. The signs of addiction to look out for are:

  • Developing a tolerance, where one has to take larger and larger doses of opium to get the desired effects
  • Spending a lot of time focusing on the drug and its consumption
  • Being able to take the drug over and over without rest
  • Inability to stop taking the substance
  • Depression and/or suicidal thoughts
  • Looking physically unkempt
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Having difficulty maintaining work habits
  • Having difficulty taking care of one's self
  • Becoming alienated from family and friends
  • Doing things out of character to obtain the drug, such as stealing

Did You Know?

After her death, it was discovered that Florence Nightingale, arguably the most famous nurse who ever lived, was a notorious opium user.

Opium Withdrawal Symptoms

Opium withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, which can lead an addict to continue using and can make stopping use quite difficult, especially when going it alone. Without adequate opium addiction treatment in a qualified facility, addiction can be difficult to beat. Opium withdrawal symptoms usually include:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Muscle twitching
  • Chills, usually with a cold and clammy sweat
  • Severe pains and aches
  • Insomnia, inability to sleep
  • Tension and restlessness and extreme anxiety
  • Vomiting or other digestive disturbances

Attempting opium addiction recovery without adequate help can be a needlessly challenging experience. For this reason, enrolling in a program for opium addiction treatment is a way of making the road to recovery less uncomfortable. It also raises the chances of success. To discuss treatment options or to inquire about centers in your area, please call us on 1-800-928-9139.

Street Names

Opium has many street names that are commonly used:

  • Skee
  • Joy plant
  • Pen yan
  • Black stuff
  • Black jack
  • Tar
  • Big O
  • Goma (Spanish)
  • Midnight oil
  • Ze

Many types of programs are available to those struggling with opium addiction recovery. Finding the right program for the individual user is of great help to make that person feel involved in recovery support programs and comfortable with the opium addiction treatment.

Risks of Opium Abuse

"Complications of using the substance can produce opium addiction symptoms that are life-threatening for the addict."Complications of using the substance can produce opium addiction symptoms that are life-threatening for the addict. The risk of overdose is very real and should be taken very seriously. If you know of anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call emergency services. Then encourage the person to enter an opium addiction treatment program as soon as possible. Complications are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fingertips and lips turning blue
  • Shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse

More long-term use of opium may cause addicts to display the following opium addiction symptoms:

  • Refusing to eat
  • Ignoring basic personal hygiene
  • Liver disease
  • Pneumonia

Opium is a highly addictive drug, and a person's opium addiction recovery and rehabilitation can require a treatment program. Treatment can include certified addiction counseling and residential treatment in a center specialized in alcohol and drug rehab, particularly in opium addiction treatment. The treatment used depends on the extent of the addiction and a number of other factors, including the personal preferences of the addict and if they wish to be treated in private rehab or luxury facilities.

To discuss options or to speak to someone about treatment, programs or particular facilities, call us at 1-800-928-9139 for confidential help and counseling. Opium addiction recovery is possible with the right tools. Reaching out is the first step to treating this destructive addiction and returning to normalcy.