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Analgesics are a class of drugs designed to relieve pain without causing the loss of consciousness.
Morphine is an opiate, derived from the poppy plant. It is classified as a narcotic and is commonly prescribed to manage pain. Morphine often results in physical dependence after long periods of use. Eventually the body needs increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired pain-relieving and euphoric effects.
When addiction occurs, the body craves morphine. Without it, the body reacts physically, causing withdrawal symptoms. The drug can consume an addict’s life, leading them to neglect family, friends, peers and work. Addicts may isolate and display odd shifts in mood and behavior.
An opiate refers to natural or slightly modified components of opium such as codeine, morphine and heroin.
Heroin is a natural substance taken from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants. An opioid drug made from morphine, heroin enters the brain rapidly and produces euphoria and feelings of relaxation. It can also slow breathing and increase the risk of serious infectious diseases, especially when injected with a needle. People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.
Regular heroin use changes brain functioning, causing tolerance and dependence. Nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin reported misusing prescription opioids prior to using heroin. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include big H, horse, hell dust, and smack.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Like morphine, it is a prescription drug that is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drug involved in drug overdose deaths in the U.S.
Some drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA. Why? Because it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option. This is especially risky when people taking drugs don’t realize they might contain fentanyl as a cheap but dangerous additive.
Codeine is a prescription pain medication used to treat mild to moderate pain. Although some think the drug is harmless, codeine use at high doses, can lead to respiratory failure, coma and even death. This risk is especially high when codeine is combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or other opioids.
Codeine intake often begins for legitimate medical reasons, but an addiction may develop from continued abuse of the drug in its cough medicine or pill form. Codeine can lull its users into a false sense of security because many people do not consider it to be as powerful or addictive as its opiate family members. When addicted to codeine, the individual may end up consuming the drug to achieve euphoria. Though less powerful than its drug relative morphine, codeine still holds powerful and addictive properties for those who abuse it.
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