The History of Opioid Addiction

Opioids are derived from the opium poppy which grows on different continents across the globe. It can be found from Afghanistan to Mexico to Thailand.

The plant has been used for thousands of years as a pain reliever for people dealing with injuries and medical conditions. Even though it is used for medicinal purposes, it is exploited illegally and abused by many people.

Even if you follow your doctor’s orders and take the opioid as prescribed, you can still develop an addiction. They should not be used for recreational use or to get high. Opioid usage is widespread in the United States and is responsible for thousands of overdoses every year.

What are Commonly Used Opioids?

The opioids that are typically prescribed by a physician are oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, and codeine. Physicians also give morphine, buprenorphine, and oxymorphone to patients for treating pain. Even though people must get these medications from a medical professional, they are still at risk of becoming addicted. The drug affects the chemicals in the brain and creates a bond with opiate receptors. This connection creates the pain-relieving effect and provides the user with a sense of euphoria.

How Do Opioids Affect the Brain?

When opioids reach the brain, it also causes the production of dopamine and serotonin to increase. This gives the user a higher level of pleasure and triggers the reward response system in the brain. If taken for an extended period of time, the brain becomes accustomed to receiving the drug. Your body also becomes dependent on the drug, which makes it difficult to stop abruptly.

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What is Fentanyl Addiction?

If a patient is dealing with extreme pain, a physician may prescribe fentanyl. This is a synthetic drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. In 1960, fentanyl was developed as an anesthetic to help people dealing with severe pain. The drug is administered by needle or in lozenge form.

Fentanyl is typically prescribed to people that have had surgery, that live with chronic pain, or that have been diagnosed with cancer, but it is abused by addicts and is apart of the opioid epidemic. Since the drug is potent and delivers a feeling that is similar to heroin, fentanyl addiction has become a problem for many people. It is also sold on the street and is called China girl, dance fever, and China white.


What are the Signs of Opioid Abuse?

Although opioids are prescribed by physicians and used to treat pain, many people have become addicted to them. It is a dangerous substance that can cause respiratory distress and overdoses have become extremely high. The signs of an opioid addiction are cravings, sweating, slurred speech, and nausea. Those abusing the drug may also experience constipation, itchy skin, and vomiting. The signs of an overdose include a slowed heart rate, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness. If someone you know exhibits multiple signs, seek medical attention for them immediately.


Opioids are dangerous drugs that make you become physically dependent. They harm your health and can cause you to overdose. They should only be taken as prescribed by a medical professional and for medical reasons only.

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