Addiction of Opiates

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In the world, opiates addiction is one of the greatest challenges of drug abuse. Opiates cover a variety of drugs, each legal and illegal. Examples include fentanyl, heroin, and opium. In some situations, they can be used as medicine, but also, a long-term usage of the drug can lead to the risk of addiction. Continuous usage will make one develop a tolerance to the substance that means that the opiates won’t produce the desired effect on the body. Consequently, people will take extra of the drug to get the desired response. At this point, the drug will cause a lot of negative consequences on the body, and this means that people should abstain from its utilization to avoid its effects on the body.

Opiate addiction has a lot of negative effects on the human body. To start with, they can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. Research has shown that taking of opiates leads to depressed respiration and thus reduces the oxygen amount that is transported to the brain. This condition is commonly known as hypoxia, and it can cause a psychological and neurological harm as well as triggering a comma. (Bell 259)

Secondly, heroin is a drug under opiates, and its addiction can lead to deterioration of the white matter of the brain. Victims using heroin are likely to have permanent problems when it comes to decision making. Their ability to make judgment reduces as well as the ability to control their behavior (Bell 259). They are likely not to respond appropriately to stressful situations.

Opiate addiction also has some health problems on the organ systems. The people who abuse opiates chronically have a lower quality of health. This can be seen from a relatively higher healthcare costs when compared to non-users. According to Bell, when users overdose the opioid painkillers, they are likely to have respiratory arrests which can deprive the body tissues of oxygen (258). Consequently, it is fatal and can lead to debilitating organ system harm.

Opiate addiction has users to have sleeping problems. Research indicates that its continuous usage has a relationship with sleep-disordered breathing. It is associated with several sleeping problems including Ataxic breathing which consists of irregular breathing patterns. This condition causes damage to a section of the brain; medulla oblongata responsible for controlling the functioning of the heart and the lungs (Kreek 219). There is also hypoxemia which can lead to failure of the heart on the right side and respiratory failure.

Opiate users are likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems. An event like abnormal heart rate, heart failure and also heart attack are associated with the users. It is worth noting that people who inject themselves with opiates are likely to suffer from collapsed veins and at the same time may have bacterial infections of the blood vessels not forgetting the heart valves. Heroin from the streets is likely to have some impurities that travel in the body and likely to clot in small capillaries cutting off the blood flow causing continuous harm to the body organs. Habitual injections can cause vein damage, and eventually, the veins will collapse (Bell, 258). Not forgetting that the sharing of the needles is also dangerous as it can cause several blood-borne pathogens as well as lung infection TB. Many cases of HIV, a virus that causes AIDS have been highly reported from injection drug users.

Opiates are associated with immune system problems. Their chronic usages, especially for those who use drugs like morphine, have observable immunosuppressive effects. Research has shown that opiates have a biochemical trigger that inhibits an immune cell responsible for fighting cancer and viruses (Kreek 218). Opiates are known to hinder the functioning of some types of white blood cells. They include B-cells and T-cells which are responsible for the production of antibodies that neutralize pathogens and scanning the body for foreign invaders respectively. Consequently, it leads to a wide range of viral, bacterial diseases and other disorders related to suppression of the cells that help the immune system fight them off.

They also affect the muscles of the digestive system of the users. The users might experience constipation resulting from the slow digestive transit. Due to chronic constipation associated with opiate addiction, the users are likely to face more serious disorders like small bowel obstruction and resultant peritonitis (Bell 263). The users may have nausea occurring regularly along with sudden uncontained vomiting. The patients are advised to go for antiemetic prescriptions to reverse their condition.

The liver is also one of the organs likely to be affected from chronic opiate addiction. The opioid painkillers are combined with acetaminophen, and if they are used in excess, the acetaminophen becomes toxic hence damaging the liver cells (Kreek 209). It is true that many opiate addicts add alcohol to the painkillers whereby the already dangerous situation turns worse. It is therefore hard for the liver to process the toxic combination of ethanol from alcohol, and acetaminophen.

In summary, opiate addiction has several adverse effects on the body, as mentioned above, several organs of the body may be affected, and this means that there is abnormal body functioning. Evidently, some of the effects are likely to cause suffering for a long time and even death if not attended to. One should find alternative means of treatment instead of using opiates.

Works Cited

Bell, James. “Pharmacological maintenance treatments of opiate addiction.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 77.2 (2014): 253-263.

Kreek, de MJ. “Rationale for maintenance pharmacotherapy of opiate dependence.” Research Publications-Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease 70 (1992): 205-230.

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