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Lasting Financial Effects of Opium Abuse

Lasting Financial Effects of Opium Abuse

Opium abuse can lead to job loss and poverty

Opium is derived from papaver somniferum, a species of poppy plant containing narcotic alkaloids like morphine, codeine, oripavine and thebaine. The opium is harvested by cutting incisions into the green seedpods and collecting its white sap. Once dried, the sap usually resembles a dark tar-like substance that can be smoked in a pipe, rolling papers or a similar delivery device. Alkaloids from the poppy can also be synthesized into heroin or prescription pain relievers like morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. In reporting an American opium poppy farm bust in 2013, Reuters quoted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as saying that such large-scale operations are very rare. Opium, while popular in other countries, is less available in the US, though opiate-derived drugs are a driving force in current substance abuse problems. Among the many risks of using of any opiate-based drug is the potential for lasting financial problems.

When an addiction develops, opiate addicts become obsessed with procuring or taking the drug, and this can become a financial burden in several ways, including the following:

  • Opium is rare in the US and must often be purchased at a premium
  • Painkiller addicts must often doctor shop to meet their rising dosage demands
  • Opioid painkillers can be especially expensive when bought on the street
  • Heroin addicts often started with painkillers that eventually became too costly

Incidentally, most drug users in the US have limited opium experience and may pay extra for what is actually hashish being passed off as opium.

Supporting an opium habit can be expensive, but an addiction can also affect finances in other ways. Direct and indirect financial consequences can potentially include the following:

  • Job loss due to addictive behaviors that compromised productivity or caused an accident
  • Problems finding employment due to drug testing, physical marks and erratic behavior
  • Family ties strained by the addiction that result in more expenses or less support
  • Damage to a person’s physical and mental health stemming from the opiate abuse
  • Diminished decision-making skills that motivate unwise or detrimental financial risks
  • Legal expenses, fines and possible incarceration for illegal possession or use

Opiate-related drug abuse can also result in an overdose and other medical emergencies. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, opiates were associated with 30% of all drug-related emergency room visits in 2011.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Treatment centers offer the most effective path to recovery with a focus on all areas of a patient’s life. During rehabilitation, commonly used treatments include the following:

  • Supervised detoxification with possible options for gradual dosage reductions
  • Integrated screenings and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address dysfunctional emotions and thoughts
  • Motivational interviewing to help patients find personal reasons to affect change
  • Educational therapies about addiction science, opiates and lasting recoveries
  • Non-narcotic pain management treatments for patients with chronic pain issues

Recovery therapies seek to treat the whole person, and many of the changes that occur in treatment can help patients restore their financial health as well. Recovering addicts typically improve their problem-solving abilities, coping strategies, decision-making savvy and anger and stress management tools, which are all skills that can help foster success in all areas of life.

If you or a loved one abuses any type of opiate, we can help. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day, and let one of our admissions coordinators discuss the signs of addiction, treatment options and recovery resources. We can answer any questions you might have, and we can look up health insurance plans to explain their treatment benefits. Please call now.