Long Term Effects of Opiates

Heroin, Codeine, papaverine and morphine all are related drugs, as they all have the same source. 

Addiction of Opiates

These drugs are deprived from the latex produced from the plant opium, which is scientifically called papaver somniferum from the family papaveracea, by incision.

Generally, drugs that are deprived from this plant are called opioids.

Clinically:  are considered as narcotic analgesics, they are usually combined with anesthetics.

They also can be used as cough sedatives and astringent in diarrhea.

But the abuse of these drugs without consulting a physician or a pharmacist always leads to dependency and then addiction.

This article will focus on the pharmacological effect of opioids, the symptoms that result from their abuse and withdrawal and how to treat or overcome their addiction.

1- Let’s start with Morphine:

Addiction of Opiates

It’s the most strong sedative, it changes the way of perception of pain, it’s given mainly as injection before and after operations and during anesthesia, also acts as gastric sedative.


It’s highly addictive, the body builds up tolerance to it so larger and larger doses may be necessary to have the same effect.

Morphine also depresses the function of the brain center that controls respiration so high doses of morphine can kill by respiratory arrest.

Morphine interacts mainly with the opioid receptors in certain brain cells and other anatomical structures as the gastrointestinal tract and the urinary bladder.

Effects of morphine on the body include:

1- Pin point pupil.

2- Vomiting.

3- Decrease the reflex effect of cough.

4- Morphine decreases the respiratory rate by depression of respiratory centers, which may cause death by overdosing.

5- Analgesia.

6- Morphine activates the reward system of the brain leading to the sense of contentment.

7- Morphine releases histamine from mast cells leading to urticaria

8- Increases the secretion of growth hormone.

Dependence and tolerance to the drug:

Dependence to morphine occurs due to its effects of depression, sedation and analgesia.

Withdrawal produces a series of autonomic, motor, and psychological responses that incapacitate the individual and cause serious symptoms, although it is rare that the effects cause death.

2- Codeine:

Addiction of Opiates

Codeine is a moderately strong opiate drug that is used in pain relief when combined with acetaminophen and for the suppression of coughs at doses that don’t cause analgesia.

Codeine crosses the blood brain barrier and activates the reward system in the brain by stimulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.

Some individuals use for legal medical purposes, but over time develop an addiction problem.

After prolonged use an individual develops a tolerance for this substance and needs to take more and more of the drug in order to feel the effects.

3- Heroin:

Addiction of Opiates

Heroin is considered an opiate not an opioid as it’s synthesized partially in a lab by the acetylation of morphine.

Heroin is highly addictive opiate drug which is considered to be the most common of them.

Heroin is more potent than morphine

Most street heroin is cut with substances as sugar or starch or powdered milk, therefore heroine abusers don’t actually know the true strength of the drug, and they are at high risk of overdose and death.

Heroine is commonly injected, sniffed or smoked.

Treatment of addiction of opiates:

Addiction of Opiates

It’s not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.

Buprenorphine: partial agonist that has mild opiate effects and reduces withdrawal cravings ( popular in France)

Doloxine: psychotic way to detoxification, but the side-effects are nasty.

 Any comments or observations?

6 thoughts on “Long Term Effects of Opiates”

  1. One thing that is very common to this present generation is the abuse of drugs and even with the awareness that it’s very dangerous to human health. A lot of danger most humans face regarding health is the effect of one or two things they’ve used it abused. It’s very good that shared this, it’ll show people how damaging opiates can be and how to withdraw from it before it’s too late.

  2. Opium or opiates. These are really new terms to me in a general note but I am really glad that I can learn all about it here on your website. You know I didn’t know so much about heroin but I wanted to educate myself of it’s after effects. In school, I have some friends who have already began using codeine and I am scare they might become addicted to it. They should understand this so I’ll let them know.

  3. This is so sad. I know that for most that have gone this path, they can argue a lot concerning what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable for a human being. These drugs activate the reward system in the brain and to put it in simple words, it’s like cheating. A student that reproved an exam but still wants to enjoy the satisfaction of the highest grade.

    The price for this temporal fix is too high. Absurdly high.

    The invitation must always be to take the right path. There are no shortcuts. 

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