Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids)
There is no doubt about the destruction caused by prescription opioids more commonly known as painkillers. It’s true that painkillers can be used legitimately, but unfortunately, once they start taking them, many individuals become addicted. In America, the use of street drugs is slightly declining; however, the use of prescription painkillers is on the rise.
In 2007 alone, nearly three million Americans abused some type of prescription painkiller. There are more individuals abusing painkillers for the first time than marijuana. Statistics show that painkillers are abused by teenagers almost as much as marijuana.
Many experts wonder why so many individuals are abusing painkillers. Recent surveys show that 50 percent of teens who abuse painkillers think that illegal street drugs are more dangerous to use than painkillers.
However, many adults and teenagers simply don’t realize just how risky it is to abuse painkillers. In many situations, people don’t realize the dangers of painkiller abuse until it’s simply too late. Although there are many types of painkillers, some are abused much more common than others.
What Makes Prescription Pain Medications So Addictive?
Virtually all painkillers are made from opium, and the opium is extracted from a plant, which is known as the opium poppy. Historically, opium has always been used as a medicinal drug. However, the use of opium as a painkiller started to cause problems.
People started to develop a serious addiction to opium, so a variety of painkillers were created, which were supposed to be less addictive and replace opium. Many modern painkillers are derived directly from opium, but there are also many synthetic opioids, which are basically man-made types of opium.
However, many addicts still abuse straight opium, which is ingested or smoked. Hop, gum, block, black stuff, big O and paregoric are common street names for pure opium.
Morphine (Duramorph®, MS Contin®)
Made from opium, morphine is a powerful painkiller. People who like to abuse morphine might smoke, ingest or inject it. As a narcotic painkiller, morphine is available in the brand names Duramorph and Roxanol. Some street names for morphine are white stuff, monkey, M and Miss Emma.
Morphine is classified as a narcotic analgesic. Put simply, morphine alters the brain and changes how the body experiences and response to pain. It’s common for morphine to be given to patients both before and after surgery.
The regions of the brain that are associated with pleasure are affected by morphine. After morphine enters the body, it usually produces euphoria. The short-term effects of morphine are depressed breathing, constipation, and drowsiness.
Many people make the mistake of taking a single, large dose of morphine, which can cause coma severe breathing depression or death. The long-term effects of morphine are dependence, addiction, and tolerance.
Codeine (various brand names)
Another commonly-abused painkiller is codeine; it’s a painkiller that is created from opium, and it can be ingested or injected. There are several types of medicine that contain codeine. Many people who abuse codeine use solutions that also contain Tylenol and Robitussin.
Some of codeine’s street names are loads, doors and fours, schoolboy, Cody, and Captain Cody. As with any type of opiate, codeine comes with a variety of short-term and long-term side effects. Some short-term side effects of codeine are shallow breathing, agitation, delirium, irregular thoughts, poor night vision, sleepiness and lightheadedness.
Long-term effects of codeine are both physical and psychological and can include insomnia, disorientation, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Long-term physical effects caused by codeine are tremors, seizures, chronic constipation, and sexual dysfunction.
Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeinone (Vicodin®, Norco®, Zohydro®, and others)
A commonly-abused painkiller is hydrocodone, which is a synthetic opioid. In most cases, hydrocodone is combined with Tylenol. This painkiller goes by the brand names Lorcet, Lortab, and Vicodin. In the US, hydrocodone accounts for 60 percent of drug total drug addictions.
When taken, hydrocodone produces opiate-like effects, which is why it’s so addictive. When abused, hydrocodone can cause severe long-term effects. The main reason why so many individuals are addicted to hydrocodone is that it has a high potential for abuse.
Fentanyl (Actiq®, Duragesic®, Sublimaze®)
Like hydrocodone, fentanyl is an opioid that is synthetic, and it’s commonly sold under brand names like Duragesic and Actiq. When abused, fentanyl can be snorted, smoked or injected. TNT, jackpot, dance fever, china white, chine girl and apache are some common street names for fentanyl.
One of the reasons why so many individuals die from fentanyl abuse is because it can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin. As with most opiates, the long-term effects of fentanyl are dependence, tolerance, and addiction.
Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, and others)
Another commonly-abused painkiller is oxycodone, which is a synthetic opioid. It’s very common for drug users to crush and snort oxycodone. The brand names for oxycodone are Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin, and Tylox.
Common street names for oxycodone are percs, hillbilly heroin, oxycet, and oxycotton. As with virtually all other opiates, the long-term effects of abusing oxycodone are very dangerous.
More Information on Prescription Opioids
- Codeine (various brand names)
- Fentanyl (Actiq®, Duragesic®, Sublimaze®)
- Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeinone (Vicodin®, Norco®, Zohydro®, and others)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
- Meperidine (Demerol®)
- Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®)
- Morphine (Duramorph®, MS Contin®)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, and others)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
Anyone who is addicted to painkillers should seek inpatient treatment. When compared with other forms of treatment, inpatient treatment offers several advantages.
Inpatient treatment is preferred because it offers constant support, structure, positive influences, supervision, great therapy and tools needed for recovery. Many other forms of treatment fail because they lack these benefits.
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