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Current Issues in Opium Use

Current issues in opium useOpium is one of the world’s oldest known drugs, both as a medical prescription and as a street drug, famed for its powerful sedative properties. Its immediate effects include these:

  • Euphoria
  • Lessened pain
  • Calmness
  • Detachment
  • Lessened appetite
  • Impaired concentration

These effects last roughly four hours; then the addict is ready for another hit.

Increase in Opium Use

Opium is on the rise, not only in poor countries, but in highly industrialized nations. Its effect has been damaging. Nearly everyone in affected areas, from children to the elderly, has begun to take up an opium habit. This, in turn, has led to increased crime and decreased economic productivity. Corrupt police in Burma only fuel the problem, as opium dealers are able to bribe law officers and continue selling opium to fund their constant wars. Afghan farmers, who have little land and need a crop that yields the most money per hectare, have turned to opium, and the power shift accompanying this change has brought much tension between young and old. What exacerbates the problem is that although Islam outlaws most addictive drugs, such as alcohol, opium is technically permitted. In developed nations (most notably Great Britain and the US), there has been a bigger problem with opium derivatives like cocaine, heroin, and morphine, than with pure opium.

People Likely to Abuse Opium

Those most likely to abuse opium are primarily those brought up in a culture with a long opium tradition, such as East Asians and Native Americans. Youth everywhere are especially at risk, for if one is introduced to a drug early in life (as many youth are in America and around the world), he is astronomically more likely to become addicted as he grows older. This is because the brain is still forming in childhood and adolescence, and drugs such as opium carve paths for themselves in the brain. The less fully-formed the brain is when opium is introduced to it through the bloodstream, the deeper will be the neural pathways it forms.

Also at risk are medical patients to whom an opium derivatives, especially morphine, has been administered. There is always debate about whether medical professionals should prescribe opiates to patients in extreme pain, since unwilling addiction is likely to ensue in the patient. The spike in illegal opium abuse has also prompted long argument over whether such drugs should be legalized for public, as well as medical, use, in order to place them under government control for supervised distribution. However, this solution to the problem of addiction has many skeptics.

Recent Research in Opium Addiction Recovery

Recently, addiction recovery experts have been researching the drug buprenorphine, which can be taken less frequently than methadone (the traditional opium addiction recovery drug) and yet quiets opium cravings by producing the effects of an opium hit with lessened effects. Research is also in progress concerning ibogaine, an organic substance which can also mildly duplicate the effects of opium use, but the mortality rate of its users makes it a somewhat risky option.

Need Help for Opium Addiction?

Despite the best efforts of research, opium addiction continues to grow and is likely to have affected you or someone you know. If so, please call our 24-hour, toll free helpline for information about successful, affordable treatment. Help yourself or a loved one to break free from opium addiction; call us today.