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Opium Use in Different Cultures

Opium Use in Different CulturesOpium is a naturally occurring substance found in the seeds of the opium poppy. While opium itself is not a prescribed medication, morphine, codeine and thebaine are extracted from the opium gum. Morphine and codeine are often used alone in their natural state or in combination with other drugs in prescribed medications. Thebaine is used to create hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and several other semi-synthetic opiate painkillers.

Why People Use Opium

Opium can provide pleasurable effects, including the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Numbness from pain
  • Alleviation of anxieties

Due to its pleasure inducing qualities, opium is a drug of abuse.

Opium Abuse Trends

The history of opium use has been documented since the early 1900s. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in the early 1900s, people in Singapore, China and Hong Kong were the largest consumers of opium. Taiwan, Iran and Thailand were also significant consumers. India, Canada and the United States held the lowest percentage of opium consumers at that time. However, in 2006, the only country that increased its use of opium was the United States.

Cultural Influences on Opium Abuse

Culture influences is a broad categorization of the many aspects of daily life and may include the following:

  • Perceptions
  • Home life
  • Emotions
  • Neighborhood and community
  • Belief systems
  • School or work environment
  • Family structure
  • Relationships
  • Peers

Any combination of these influences can make a person more susceptible to opium use. In addition, people who experience prejudice or trauma due to their culture may use substances to cope with feelings of distress or social isolation.

Treatment Options for Dealing with Opium Abuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides information about evolving and diversified treatment approaches for dealing with opium abuse, including the following:

  • Detox is the first step in addiction therapy because it clears the body of the toxins associated with the drug abuse. However, detox alone does not address the psychological, social and behavioral problems associated with addiction. Therefore, detox should be followed by a formal assessment and referral to subsequent drug addiction treatment.
  • Long-term residential treatment provides care 24 hours a day with a typical length of stay between 6 and 12 months. Treatment, which is customized for each addict, includes understanding cultural influences with the goal of acknowledging the role these influences have on a person living a productive life.
  • Outpatient treatment programs are suitable for people with jobs or extensive social support. While many of the services are similar to services provided in residential programs, group counseling is often a major component.
  • Individualized drug counseling helps the addict develop coping strategies and tools to abstain from drug use.
  • Group counseling maximizes the concept of social reinforcement.

Each person’s journey towards addiction recovery is different, and the treatment option that best meets a person’s needs varies. It makes sense to explore the various options and make the right choice for you.

Get Help for Opium Abuse

Regardless of the cultural influences prompting your opium use, you can take control of your life and regain control from opium. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and provide you with resources to pursue your recovery from opium. Please call our toll-free number so you can get the information you need to make the right decision for you.