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How Culture Influences Opium Abuse

While opium is not available in raw form in the United States, by far the most popular illicit opiate is heroin. Since heroin’s initial formulation addictions to the substance have been widespread and affect thousands of people each year.  While heroin is one of the most powerful opiate substances, it is not the most dangerous. Some of the most difficult and deadly addictions to opium are the direct result of prescription opiate pain relievers.

Prescription Opiate Abuse and Addiction

Most popular prescription substances designed and prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain consist of an opiate base. These medications work by stimulating receptors in the brain and spinal cord to block the transmission and reception of pain signals. Additionally, prescription opiates tap into the brain’s reward centers to provide a general sense of wellbeing. Over long periods of time, patients who take consistent doses of a prescription opiate put themselves at a significant risk for tolerance and dependency. This is possible because of the brain’s attempt at self-preservation. After heavy doses, or doses administered over a long period of time, the brain begins to counteract the effects of the drug to protect the body. This is generally referred to as tolerance and means that the longer a person uses an opiate substance, the less effective it will become. Tolerance is usually a precursor for dependency, a situation in which addicts believe that they need consistent doses of the drug to feel normal. While illicit opiates like heroin are dangerous in their own right, the complex emotional strongholds that are created when a patient with no history of drug abuse or addiction becomes dependent upon opiates are some of the most devastating.

Cultural Influences of Opium

We live in a society that works to place everything we need at our fingertips. While this has many obvious benefits, recent trends involving the number of new prescriptions for drugs with some form of opium derivate are increasing. While it is good practice for doctors to discuss the addictive potential of these drugs with their patients, this doesn’t always happen. But perhaps the greatest contributing factor is a culture that trains us to believe that a desired outcome can be best attained by minimal effort. This message may be subliminal and unintentional, but it does exist. Even people who have no history of drug abuse are prompted to believe that their medication can do things it was never formulated to do. The unfortunate reality is that opiates are most likely here to stay. They have been one of the most popular drugs of choice for centuries.

Resources for Opium Rehabilitation

If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to any form of opiates, we can help. We are available 24 hours a day to provide you with the answers to your questions and point you toward quality rehab options. The call is toll free, and we may be able to work with your insurer. Please call us today.