Drugs classified as “opioids” (or opiates) have legitimate medical benefits. However, due to their highly addictive properties, their misuse and abuse have contributed to the U.S.’s ongoing opioid crisis. Natural and synthetic opioids differ but share many of the same basic qualities. So, are synthetic opioids dangerous and natural ones safe? The simple answer is no. However, synthetic opioids cut with dangerous ingredients, especially street drugs, can pose a larger risk.
When consuming any drug, it’s always important to understand its source, and how to avoid falling into a substance use issue. Legally prescribed medication like morphine or codeine is beneficial for pain relief, but also easily abused. Conversely, heroin and fentanyl are two synthetic opioids that people often abuse. These have potentially lethal side effects. Even small doses of certain opioid-related drugs can result in an overdose. But you can avoid these drugs and the pitfalls that come with them.
If you or a someone you care about struggles with synthetic opioids or prescribed natural opioids, please reach out to us at 888-906-0952. We will help guide you through treatment options for opioid abuse and answer questions about addiction and recovery. You are capable of turning your life around, starting today.
Heroin is an oft-abused opiate that has claimed many lives. The substance derives from morphine, which is a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants.
The drug is typically injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked. Heroin users often experience a variety of effects. It makes individuals feel a rush of euphoria when they take it. The intense (and immediate) high can quickly lead to dependency, and eventually addiction. Some negative side effects of synthetic opioid use include:
- clouded mental functioning
- flushing of the skin
- heavy feeling in the arms and legs
- nausea and vomiting
- severe itching
Heroin often contains other additives that are also not good for the body. Common household items like sugar, starch, or powdered milk are frequently added to “cut” the drug. These additives clog blood vessels and lead to permanent damage in the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. Since heroin is a street drug, there is no way of knowing what you’re getting with the product, which makes it all the more dangerous to try, even once.
An addiction to heroin is a debilitating roadblock for anyone. Don’t wait for symptoms to turn extreme or for negative consequences to start affecting your life. Heroin remains one of the hardest drugs to quit due to its intense effects on the brain and the body and its regular potential for overdose.
The term “natural” brings up thoughts of health and wellness. However, in the drug world, it simply indicates that a substance hasn’t had additives or chemicals introduced yet. Unfortunately, this means that all the potential dangers for addiction and negative side effects are still present.
Natural opioids come directly from the poppy plant. The substance is formed by drying the milky juice of the unripe seedpods of the opium poppy. Opium, morphine, and codeine all fall under this category. Opium is primarily a recreational drug. However, it can be anesthesia, as well as in treating nervous disorders and certain cancers.
But people can easily abuse opium. People may end up falling into addiction after originally being prescribed the drug by a medical professional. As a patient, it is important to know about the risks of addiction prior to taking opium. The same idea applies to morphine. Morphine acts as a pain reliever and is only available by prescription (unless illegally obtained). It is common for intense pain, often for people recovering from surgery or suffering from ongoing diseases. Patients need to be aware of the negative side effects of becoming addicted to morphine prior to taking it.
Codeine is another opioid that’s “natural”. It derives from morphine, and like morphine, it can moderate pain or even suppress severe coughing. It is an additive in certain cough syrups, which themselves can become addictive.
Although these drugs may seem harmless because they are prescribed by doctors, they can result in very unpleasant effects if not taken properly and misused over time.
The primary difference between synthetic opioids and natural ones is that synthetics come from a lab. At the same time, the drugs have similar effects and contain the same hazards as synthetics.
They relieve pain and induce calmness and even euphoria. Synthetic fentanyl and synthetic methadone have been approved to use on patients for medical issues. However, when not prescribed by a medical professional, synthetic opioids can be dangerous.
The majority of synthetic opioids are actually more potent than morphine or heroin on their own. Therefore, when an individual takes synthetic opioids they may be taking more of this substance than their body allows. This can result in an overdose and possibly even death.
It’s crucial to be aware of these factors and risks when approaching synthetic opioids. Whether the opioids you use are natural or synthetic, the possibility of becoming dependent on them remains.
While synthetic opioids may induce relaxation, euphoria, and pain relief, they have negative effects as well. An individual may also experience drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression.
But despite the negative effects, users get so hooked on the high itself, the physical and mental discomfort becomes unimportant. And, like with many other drugs, users combat this discomfort by simply taking more of the drug. It creates a vicious cycle of use which may spiral quickly into addiction.
The Dangers of Opioids
Opioids in general should not be taken outside of a medical professional’s prescription. This branch of drugs, both natural and synthetic, are harmful to your mind and body.
Dangerous synthetic opioids are everywhere. Obviously, an individual can become addicted to them, which can lead to a range of issues. Fentanyl, for example, is highly fat-soluble and due to this, enters the brain rapidly. This has the effect of making Fentanyl very addictive and also makes an individual prone to having an overdose. The withdrawal symptoms when an individual tries to get off fentanyl are sometimes severe.
Opioids often lead to an overdose due to the fact that they induce tolerance. Tolerance builds up when you have been using a drug over a long period of time and it now carries the same effects. In order to get the same high, a user takes more of the drug. Many people end up addicted to or even overdosing on opioids for this reason. They take more of the drug, but their body isn’t prepared to handle it. This is especially dangerous when using opioids mixed with multiple substances.
Furthermore, fentanyl is extremely potent. It is eighty times more powerful than morphine and an individual may not even know they’ve consumed it. Drug dealers might mix fentanyl into heroin, cocaine, meth, or MDMA (ecstasy). Since even a small amount of fentanyl can be lethal, it is a dangerous gamble any time it is added to other drugs. In these cases, the risk of severe side effects or overdose are high.
Get Help For Opioid Addiction
If you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Although the road to recovery isn’t easy, a sober lifestyle is possible.
If you struggle with addiction, reach out to your family and friends for support. If you are watching someone struggle with addiction, be supportive of them seeking treatment and let them know that you are there for them. Having support during treatment is one of the best motivations for an individual to make it to the end of their treatment programs.
Treatment programs are invaluable to your recovery. They vary in intensity and length of stay and the methods used. Depending on the nature of your addiction, you may benefit from outpatient or inpatient services. Remember, what works for one person may not be the best path for another, so understanding your options is key. Reach out to us at (888)906-0952 and we’ll answer your questions about substance abuse and help put you on the right path to a successful recovery.
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