The United States’ Opioid epidemic has provided a situation where people are keen to find out information about the legal and illegal drugs which fall into the category of Opioid. Due to the tragedies which some have witnessed as a result of opioid related overdoses, it is important to get as much information as possible.
If people are able to better understand how drugs work and how they can affect the human body, it is possible that this understanding will lead to a drop in use. This article addresses the use of two Opioids, Opium, and Heroin.
Both Opium and Heroin provide similar effects, those of giving euphoria while quelling pain. There is a plethora of other differences.
Opium is derived from the naturally occurring extract of the sap from bulbs of the poppy plant. It has morphine as its active ingredient, and this ingredient works as a pain suppressor within the brain.
Heroin, on the other hand, is a synthetic drug that has Opium as its primary ingredient. The manufacturing process converts Opium into morphine, which is then turned into Heroin. Doing this creates a substance that has a much higher level of potency than extracts from the Opium poppy do without this processing.
From a legal point of view, the FDA classifies Opium as a substance that is legal for manufacturers to make in labs and factories when they are given a license, otherwise, the manufacturing of the drug is strictly permitted. Heroin is an illicit substance, which means that it is not legal to manufacture or sell Heroin within the United States.
As a result of the potency of the drug, it is in high demand “on the streets”. This has created a wealth of societal problems which we are all having to deal with.
What is Opium?
Opium is an addictive narcotic which is made by drying the poppy seed pod, plants that are noted for the beauty of their flowers. The Opium plant is the very same plant that produces the seeds which you eat on bagels. These seeds have a minute amount of Opium, but the vast majority of the Opium is extracted during processing.
There have been cases where eating poppy seeds has resulted in positive drug tests, but these cases are few and far between.
The drug has been around for thousands of years, and both the ancient Greeks and ancient Romans used Opium as a pain killer. The Chinese brought Opium with them when they came to work on US railroads. In the late 1800’s the pharmaceutical company Bayer was the first company to make Heroin, derived from Opium.
Side effects of Opium
While both Opium and Heroin have similar properties, they metabolize differently within the body. The reason for this is due to their makeup of different alkaloids. However, when people abuse Opium, it is likely that they will experience many of the same side effects which people face when abusing Heroin.
Both of these drugs produce constipation, nausea, drowsiness, euphoria and ultimately addiction. Heroin addiction, however, causes a much faster loss of motor skills and memory function. It also causes addiction faster and more rapidly creates breathing and heart rate issues in users. With Opium, users must ingest large quantities before being at risk of overdose. Heroin, on the other hand, has been known to cause people to overdose by only using very small quantities of the drug.
Overdosing on both Heroin and opioids happen.
Occurrences of fatal overdoses have sky-rocketed in recent years due to the Opioid epidemic and the introduction of Fentanyl to cut Heroin and other opioids. It is possible that people can overdose on their first use. If someone around you overdoses you can use naloxone to reverse the effects.
There are around 13.5 people who abuse opioids around the world, including 9.2 who are Heroin abusers. In the United States, there are at least 900,000 users of Heroin, though this number is sure to go up as the opioid epidemic continues to spread across the country unfettered.
It has a better taste and is usually harvested in Afghanistan. After harvesting, the substance is refined into morphine and again into other drugs.
Long-term use of Opium is habit-forming and can cause long-term breathing problems.