Opium is a naturally occurring substance that is extracted from the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Narcotics like morphine are derived from opium, which has powerful mind-altering and pain-numbing effects. Within the United States, opium is considered a Schedule II controlled substance as it does have some medicinal use; however, it also has a very high risk for abuse, diversion, and addiction, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports.

Opium Overdose and Risks of Abuse

Overdose deaths from opioid drugs have reached epidemic levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 91 people die from an opioid overdose daily in the US. Opium, and other opioid drugs, can overwhelm the system, causing a person to struggle to breathe or stop breathing altogether. As mentioned, body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate are all lowered with the presence of opium in the bloodstream as well. During an overdose, skin will likely be cold and clammy to the touch, and fingernails and lips may appear bluish in color. Mental functions will be impaired, and a person may lose consciousness and be difficult to awaken.

Treating Opium Addiction

Opium addiction is often treated with behavioral therapies in either an outpatient or residential capacity. The type of treatment model preferred will depend on a person’s specific needs and will vary from person to person. A detailed assessment is generally performed by a highly trained professional prior to admission into a program in order to ensure the right fit.

Both outpatient and residential addiction treatment models include therapy, support groups, and relapse prevention programs. Group and individual therapy sessions can help clients to modify potentially self-destructive behavior patterns and improve self-reliance and self-esteem. Triggers that may induce cravings or raise stress levels are explored, and new coping mechanisms are learned. Families and individuals may attend therapy as well, which can help to enhance communication and improve the workings of the family unit overall. Any potential co-occurring disorders should also be managed and treated through integrated methods during opium addiction treatment.

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