1. Respiratory Depression
People who abuse opium and other narcotics can die very easily from respiratory depression. Opium slows down the workings of the mind and body and makes the individual feel relaxed, euphoric, and drowsy. Because of this, the breathing can become very slow and shallow and, when the person overdoses, can even stop. According to the NIDA, when opium use is combined with the use of alcohol, a “dangerous slowdown of heart rate and respiration, coma, or death” are all possible and potentially more dangerous the longer a person goes without help.
Opium, like heroin and other narcotic derivatives, is addictive. The DEA states, “Opium is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.” This is because it is highly abused with little accepted medical use. Opium addiction can occur in anyone who abuses the drug, and it can come on very quickly. Signs of addiction to opium are:
- Hostility toward those who ask about drug use
- Apathy toward responsibilities and once-important activities
- Drug-seeking behavior
- Relationship problems as a result of opium abuse
- Work and school problems related to opium abuse
- Financial issues caused by buying more of the drug with money that was meant for other things
- A change in the person’s circle of friends because they will only want to spend time with others who abuse opium
- An inability to stop taking opium
3. Opium Injection Effects
Often, opium is injected by abusers like heroin is. This can lead to many issues for the body including track marks, collapsed veins, and health problems caused by contaminants in the drug itself. Also those who abuse opium by injection often contract HIV and Hepatitis C from sharing needles with other individuals. While this is very dangerous, it does not mean that smoking or taking opium orally is safer. In fact, every type of opium abuse has different effects on the body that are dangerous in their own way.
4. Intoxication Effects
According to the DOI, opium causes “slowed movement and reflexes” which can be very dangerous depending on where the person is and what they are doing. Driving a car or doing something else that requires quick reflexes and sharp concentration can be very dangerous in this state as “the depression, fatigue, and slowed reflexes impede the reaction time of the driver, raising the potential for accidents.” Intoxication can also cause confusion and coordination issues which can be dangerous for someone who is not in a safe place. While euphoria is the attraction for many individuals, the other effects of opium intoxication can be dangerous just like alcohol intoxication or any other type of drug’s effects on the mind.
Opium can cause depression when a person is currently abusing the drug and as part of the withdrawal cycle. Depression can be extremely dangerous depending on its intensity and can cause an individual to harm themselves because they might not see a way out. Depression as an effect of opium abuse should be treated because it could cause many issues for an individual who does not understand why they feel these symptoms and how they can be helped.