While opium abuse isn’t making headlines as it once did, many people are still smoking opium and suffering the many health consequences. Opium, which comes directly from the plant opium poppy papaver somniferum, is a highly addictive substance considered a Schedule II drug in the United States.
What is Opium?
Grown in the Mediterranean region as early as 5000 B.C., opium is now available in several countries worldwide. Opium is a non-synthetic narcotic used to make morphine, codeine, and heroin. It’s available as a liquid, solid, or powder, but the poppy straw concentrate is available commercially as a fine brownish powder.
Opium can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill form. Many opium users will use opium in conjunction with other drugs like marijuana and methamphetamine to spike their effects.
Common opium street names include:
- Aunti Emma
- Big O
- Black Pill
- Chinese Molasses
- Chinese Tobacco
- Dover’s Powder
- Dream Gun
- Dream Stick
- God’s Medicine
- Great Tobacco
- Joy Plant
- Midnight Oil
- Pen Yan
- Pin Gon
Effects of Opioids
As an opioid, opium works by depressing the central nervous system (CNS) and decreasing respiratory function. Smoking opium causes effects almost immediately because the opiate chemicals pass into the lungs, and they’re instantly absorbed and sent to the brain.
An opium “high” is very similar to a heroin “high”; users experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and the relief of physical pain. The psychological effects of opium include euphoria, relaxation, a “warm and fuzzy” feeling, apathy, and a short period of unconsciousness commonly called nodding out.
Smoking opium increases the risk of:
- Dry mouth
- Mucous membranes in the nose dryness
- Physical and psychological dependence
The effects of smoking opium will also depend on the amount of opium someone uses, how long, and whether they mix it with other substances.
Some of the most common opium overdose symptoms include slowed breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, unconsciousness, coma, and possible death.
Opium Withdrawal Symptoms
Just like all other members of the opioid family, using this substance for extended periods will result in physical dependence and opium withdrawal. Opium withdrawal occurs once the body and brain have become accustomed to a constant supply of endorphins.
Common opium withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, diarrhea, bone and muscle pain, and Restless Leg Syndrome. Opium withdrawal lasts for between three and seven days. It usually peaks around day three and tapers off from there, with some individuals still showing acute detox symptoms a week out.
Signs of Opium Addiction
Initial signs that someone is smoking opium include nausea, confusion, and constipation episodes. Finding drug paraphernalia is also another indicator of opium addiction. Long-term use can lead to drug tolerance, meaning a person needs more drugs to get similar euphoric effects. Opium use can also lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Usually, someone has an addiction when they start facing negative consequences due to their drug use. Despite efforts to quit, they often experience withdrawal symptoms and are unable to stop using the substance.
When to Seek Help
Once someone shows signs of substance abuse or addiction, seeking professional help is paramount to prevent life-threatening consequences. Struggling with addiction doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our comprehensive treatment programs help people work toward a sober and clean lifestyle. Contact us today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our unique and tailor-made addiction recovery programs.