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  • Opium Use Signs and Symptoms – How to Tell if Someone is Using

    Opium Use Signs and Symptoms

    The Center for Disease Control considers the United States to be in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Too many people struggle with an addiction to a substance related to opium. Prescription opioids and heroin, which are far easier and cheaper to get than raw opium, are at the forefront of the problem. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health no longer measure opium use and addiction rates. Therefore there are fewer reliable statistics focused on opium.

    Opium overview

    The liquid of the opium plant seed pod becomes a gummy substance when refined. To smoke opium, one inhales the vapor from heating the raw material or a dried powder. Smoking was the preferred method of administration throughout ancient history, but people also ate raw opium and drank it in a tea. In 1680, an apothecary in England created a liquid concoction of opium, sherry, and herbs which became known as laudanum. In modern times, the drug is smoked, injected, or taken in pill form.

    Raw opium induces causes the body’s systems to slow down just like its new derivatives. The method of administration determines whether a sense of euphoria precedes the dream-like, relaxed, painless state of the opium high. Injection is the fastest method of administration and produces the rush of pleasure before the relaxed states. Smoking allows the opium to get to the brain quickly but without the rush, while ingesting it slows the onset because it must go through the digestive system first.

    Physical Signs of Using Opium

    A person intoxicated by opium will appear sleepy, out of it, in a fog, or confused. Their breathing may be sluggish; their movements will be languid, their speech may even be slurred. A telltale physical sign is pinpoint pupils. Opium intoxication can last several hours.

    Depending upon how much opium someone is using, they may complain of feeling sick every few days. Symptoms described will include constipation, abdominal cramps, muscle and joint pain, excessive sweating, restlessness, insomnia, feeling anxious and sensitivity to pain.

    If withdrawal symptoms set in soon after the opium is out of someone’s system, they will sweat, their nose will run, and their eyes will get watery. You may also notice shivering, more verbal worrying, complaining of needing medicine.

    Opium Use Signs and Symptoms – Behavior Changes

    opium user

    Once someone starts using opium, the body begins to develop a tolerance to it. They will need more opium to get the same effect. They may frequently disappear for hours at a time. Many opium smokers prefer to smoke in private or with other smokers.

    Also, the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above start to set in if they don’t get it. These signs, as well as the long-term effects, are noticeable. A person may fall asleep at odd times, complain of frequent confusion, and experience episodes of forgetfulness even when not using the drug.

    As a person becomes consumed by the need to get more opium, you may notice them neglecting aspects of their life that were previously important to them such as friends, family, work, or recreational activities. There may even be evidence of malnutrition or physical health problems.

    Supplies Used

    Raw opium is a sticky, gum-like substance colored deep brown or black. Sometimes it is refined into a dark powder.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency Museum website has photos of equipment used to smoke opium. Tools included something to hold the opium, a heat source, and a pipe. People who inject it need needles and a way to form a solution.

    Opium intoxication signs include pinpoint pupils, mental confusion, slow breathing, slow movement, and an overall sleepy state. As opium becomes a central force in someone’s life, physical signs of withdrawal will include sweating, shivering, restlessness, and insomnia. Consumed with the need for more opium, a person will begin to neglect aspects of their life that were previously important to them.

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