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A Closer Look At Opium Addiction And Treatment

Opium Addiction Treatment

All throughout history there have been instances of opium addiction, and it has been a problem ever since the 1850s when morphine was just getting its start as a ‘non-addictive’ substitute. When morphine was first coming out, people began to realize that it had the potential to be of even greater concern that opium. Addicts’ cravings for a stronger and rawer narcotic were solved when heroin, another opium derivative, hit the scene, and with the practice of people suffering addiction from either opium or one of its derivatives, methadone was invented as a possible cure. But the problem with methadone was that it was soon found to be just as addictive, even though it has the potential to be quite helpful in treating severe withdrawal symptoms. By the end of the 1990s, the mortality rate for those using opioids was up to 20 times higher than for the general population.

What Is Opium?

While opium is a narcotic substance, it is actually the crudest and least potent form of opiates. It is derived from the milky latex fluid contained in the un-ripened seed pod of the opium poppy, and once the fluid is exposed to the air, it hardens and turns black. There are currently no medical uses for it, but it has been used comprehensively for commercial manufacturing as a raw material for producing morphine and codeine. Usually the opium used for commercial purposes has the appearance of a fine brown powder, but in some cases it may be a brown or black tar-like substance. In some instances, it may be available in liquid form, and the dried form of it is usually smoked or eaten. The majority of opium is grown in places like Myanmar, Afghanistan and Mexico, and though it once was used for thousands of years for medicinal and ritualistic purposes, it eventually started being used as a recreational drug up until the late 19th century.


Opium is a very addictive drug, and as soon as a person begins to use it, they start to develop a tolerance to the substance. Usually a tolerance will begin gradually and rise, making the user feel like they need more and more of the drug in order to maintain the same type of high they got in the first place. Physical and psychological dependence go hand-in-hand with this drug, and if an addict tries to quit suddenly, they will usually experience a wide variety of severe withdrawal symptoms. There are many effects that this has on the body, some of which include malnutrition, respiratory problems, low blood pressure, constipation, small pupils, mood changes, frequent infections, and damages to important organs.

How It’s used

Opium is a very dangerous narcotic derived from the seedpods of a poppy flower, and it can be used in a variety of ways. It can be injected, eaten, or smoked, and once used, it begins to build up a tolerance in the user’s body really quickly. This means that the person will need to ingest more of the opium in order to feel the same effects they once did. Withdrawal is a painful process, and this is one of the reasons why a person might have a really tough time quitting the drug. When compared to other opiates like codeine or heroin, opium may be even harder to overcome. The only way to safely rid yourself of this terrible drug is to seek out professional help from a treatment center, and the sooner one does this, the better.


One way that a rehab center will be able to help is by providing a safe way to detox, meaning a medical way to get rid of the drugs in your body and lose your physical reliance on the substance. This process is usually completed fairly quickly, but it can last several days, up to over a week. During this time, it is common for the addict to experience hallucinations, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, and insomnia, and some people experience physical pain and muscle spasms. Methadone has been used many times to reduce withdrawal symptoms, but it should only be used in extreme cases and under medical supervision.

Twelve-Step Program

Another method of treatment that has helped many people overcome their addictions is a 12 step program like AA. Once the physical addiction is dealt with, the strong psychological dependence is generally still there, and the 12 step program helps addicts come together to share their stories and experiences, leaning on one another for support, and helping them to succeed long-term.