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Consequences of Opioid Abuse

Opioid abuse does have consequences, whether you are abusing heroin or prescription pain killers. Just like any other kind of drug abuse, the consequences of abusing opioids can reach all parts of your life, including your work, school, home, and family. Your health can also suffer and your abuse can even have fatal consequences.

Opioid Overdose

Overdose is a serious consequence of opioid abuse. If a person overdoses on opioids, the respiratory depression caused by these drugs can be fatal. According to the NLM, “breathing may stop” during opioid intoxication and the individual could die if not treated immediately. This is not just a consequence of heroin overdose but of prescription opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone as well. Someone who abuses these drugs is also risking overdose.

“Breathing support, including supplemental oxygen” can be needed, and because high doses of opioids can depress other bodily functions as well, a person can pass out, not realizing that they have overdosed on these drugs. If you abuse opioids while you are alone, you are putting yourself in danger of opioid overdose and possible coma and death.

Health Effects

Opioid abuse can have so many negative effects on your health. For someone who abuses heroin, there is a high possibility of experiencing “collapsed vein, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses (pus-filled infections), liver disease, and lung-related complications such as pneumonia” (CESAR). Heroin abuse is so dangerous and the health consequences take an enormous toll on a person.

But prescription opioid abusers are not safe from negative health consequences either. Some health problems that occur as a result of opioid abuse are:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Constipation
  • Seizures
  • “Spontaneous abortions; low birth weight” (NIDA)
  • Stomach problems
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea

Prescription opioids which are combined with aspirin or acetaminophen “can be toxic to the liver at high doses” (NIDA). There are many health problems associated with prescription opioid abuse, especially the longer the drugs are abused.

Opioid Addiction

opiate abuse

Abusing opioids often leads to dependence, when you feel sick without them.

All types of opioid drugs are usually habit-forming in some way. Whether you are abusing street opioids like opium and heroin or whether you take more oxycodone or codeine than you have been prescribed, you are in danger of becoming addicted to opioids. Opioid addiction can take over your whole life and only becomes worse the longer it goes untreated.

And, with opioid addiction, there are consequences within consequences, causing problems for individuals who may not realize how serious these effects actually are. Issues like

  • Family problems
  • Legal disputes
  • Getting arrested
  • DUIs
  • Poor performance leading to getting suspended from school or fired from a job
  • Losing friends
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Becoming apathetic, depressed, and generally dissatisfied with life
  • Not feeling normal without opioids
  • Experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms

could all occur as a result of opioid addiction. Abusing opioids may seem harmless, but these drugs are addictive. Many people start out choosing to abuse opioids as a recreational drug but then become addicted and are unable to stop on their own. Consider these consequences before you abuse prescription or street opioids and ask yourself if they are worth it.

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