General info Opiates

Opiates are divided into natural and synthetic opiates and are collectively called opioids. The natural opiates are made from opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Opium is extracted from poppy's dried milk juice. Raw opium produces morphine and codeine and from these heroin. Methadone and pethidine are examples of synthetic opiates. Opiates have long been used in medicine. Nowadays morphine is used for pain relief e.g. for cancer patients in the final stages of care.

The effects of opiates, and all intoxicants, depend on the user's personality and emotional life, on the atmosphere and company, if the drug is used in conjunction with other drugs, and on whether the user is a beginner or experienced. Opiates have a paralyzing effect on the central nervous system. The immediate effect is strong feelings of lust. Feelings of hunger, pain and sexual desire disappear. To begin with, the user may experience nausea and anxiety. At large doses, the user feels hot, the extremities feel heavy and the mouth dries. The user feels alert and sleepy at times and turns inwards. As the dose is increased, breathing becomes slower, the pupils shrink to the size of a pinhead and the skin feels cold, sticky and bluish. Respiratory paralysis can lead to death. There is always a risk of overdose when the drug is bought on the street, as it is difficult to estimate the strength of the substance.

The risks of long-term, regular use are often associated with the method of use. Dirty needles, poor injection and unclean drugs damage the body and cause infections. People who share needles with others are at risk of contracting viral diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis B or C. The nose is damaged when heroin is used. The analgesic effect of opiates can lead to the user not managing physical symptoms such as toothache and infections that can be fatal if left untreated.

Regular opiate abuse develops tolerance and leads to the user needing larger doses for the desired effect. Regular, prolonged use can lead to mental and physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are severe. If you use opiates regularly, withdrawal symptoms can appear as early as a few hours after the last dose and be strongest after 2-3 days. The symptoms are pain, nausea, fever, chills, cramps, sweating and chills.

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