Unfortunately, the abuse of opium and other narcotics (both illicit and prescription-based) can lead to heroin use. Because these drugs cause tolerance, compulsive use, and dependence when abused, they can easily lead a person to the use of another extremely dangerous narcotic and even more serious consequences.
How Does Opium Abuse Lead to Heroin?
Opium is an addictive drug, and those who abuse it for a long period of time will often lose control over their drug use. Just like the synthetic drugs with the same properties, this natural opiate can cause euphoria, relaxation, and pain reduction that the brain and body begin to crave when they are no longer receiving them. Taking the drug recreationally is the same as taking any opioid medication without a prescription, which can quickly lead to serious consequences.
Specifically, though, opium abuse can lead to heroin use for many reasons.
- Opium abuse leads to addiction the same way that heroin abuse does. If the former drug is suddenly not available to the user, they will often use anything, from prescription narcotics to street heroin, in order to get their fix.
- Pure opium is much more difficult to find than heroin, which is readily available and very easy to obtain.
- Opium (as well as prescription opioids) is often more expensive than heroin, which is cheaper to buy. Unfortunately, though, this usually only leads many addicts to just buy more of it.
- Heroin is often a much stronger drug, one that causes an extreme high that many users crave after experiencing it.
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Is This Transition Prevalent?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “There is… growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin abuse in the United States.” According to three recent surveys, around half of the heroin users who were asked about their previous drug use cited prior abuse of prescription narcotics (NIDA). Therefore, the correlation among individuals abusing prescription opioids and heroin abuse is strong.
The transition is also likely prevalent amongst opium users for the reasons listed above as well as based on the survey results and research concerning prescription opioid abusers. After all, opium causes the exact same side effects as prescription opioids when abused in high doses and has many of the same roadblocks that abusing these medications does (expense, availability, etc.).
Preventing Heroin Use in Opium Abusers
Opium abuse can lead to heroin use and is likely to if the individual begins to develop symptoms of tolerance, dependence, and addiction. The best way to prevent this dangerous transition is to seek treatment as soon as possible if you have been abusing opium for a long period of time and are beginning to realize that your drug use is no longer under your control.
Call 800-584-3274. We can help you find a treatment program in your area or answer any questions you may have about opium or other opioid-based drugs. It is important to seek help as soon as possible to avoid further consequences associated with dangerous drug abuse.