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Opioid Abuse and Addiction Treatment

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What was once an effective solution for managing chronic pain has become one of the most commonly abused substances in our society, causing the need for a monitored and effective plan for treating chemically dependent individuals and their addiction to opiate’s. Ghodse (2012) stated that addiction to opiates is a disease causing malfunctions of the brain; it has effects on the mind and body requiring a specific medication in the treatment plan, and is recognized as being the most effective. Deaths should only occur from old age; that’s not the case now days and it’s because of this horrible addiction. It’s one of the risks taken from abusing opioids. It’s gotten so bad teenagers are dying from it. Are opiates worth giving your life to? No drug is worth my life! For those that feel it’s impossible to stop, ask a doctor about buprenorphine. It’s what doctor’s use for treating this addiction and acts as an opioid receptor in the brain (Ghodse, 2012). Yeah it’s great there’s a solution to help stop substance abuse, but never using is a lot more effective for your life. Shoenfeld (2012) made it clear that once you start abusing opiates, most require treatment in order to stop

Opiates are a group of narcotics that contain opium or natural synthetic opium (Shoenfeld, 2012). Some of the commonly abused opiates include: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Heroin, Codeine, Morphine, and Methadone as well as many other pain medications. They can be crushed and snorted, taken orally, and even injected. The most restrictive legally available drugs are the opiates Methadone and Morphine (Shoenfeld, 2012). They are prescribed for severe pain. Individuals can be prescribed methadone as an option for treatment but in reality is highly addictive and commonly abused.

Addiction has no limits and doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care who you are, where you’re from, or what your life actually has in store for you, just as long as you let it in; once you do, it will take over you and everything from you. Men and women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and race can be and are addicted to these drugs. Even professional businessmen have been prescribed these medications and after some time turned into an addict, losing everything they have including their home, spouse, and job. That is one of the risks from long term use. Abusing prescription drugs has become a concern with today’s teenager. Most of them have access to these medications by opening their own medicine cabinet. It starts with social using that turns into everyday use. This happens because they find themselves liking the feeling they get from the drug. Before long, extreme measures are being taken just for them to get it.

Most people that abuse drugs use becomes it helps them escape reality. If they are having a bad day, the opiate will make it better. Another big reason people become addicts is because the drug helps them block a bad experience or tragedy from the past, commonly in women that were raped or abused as a young child or teenager. Some people have turned into full blown addicts while unaware it’s even happening. Everyday use after even a few weeks can cause the body to be physically dependent. The body gets used to the drug in its system and when it suddenly isn’t there, the body starts to have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms could be nausea, aches and pains, sweats, diarrhea, and even vomiting.

Long term use of any opiate is extremely dangerous. It causes harmful health risks to the body. It can cause breathing problems, depression, fertility issues in women, kidney problems, seizures, heart problems and even death. One of the main effects from abusing opiates is function of the brain. It affects ones motivation and emotions. It causes change in synapses and shapes of brain cells (Wolters, 2012). Chronic use is linked with structural changes and the size and shape of specific neurons (Wolters, 2012). That is how doctors can tell the difference between a chronic opiate user and an occasional user.

One effective treatment option for opiate addiction is Buprenorphine. It is an opioid medication similar to opioids and may still cause you withdrawals when the treatment process is started. When mixed with naloxone, it will block the feeling from other opioids (Wolters, 2012). The two medications put together are called suboxone. It acts as an opioid receptor in the brain that controls cravings and sickness from not having opiates (Wolters, 2012). The fact that it blocks the feeling one gets from taking opiates is very helpful in the treatment process because if the abuser feels like they want and need to use opiates, doing so won’t be effective for them in any way. Their money might as well have been flushed down the toilet. If taken properly with counseling the treatment program works great and has a low risk of relapsing. The best solution is to not use. Having knowledge on what drugs do and cause should be enough to never touch them.

If you feel you have an addictive personality, take preventative measures so you don’t find yourself in this situation. Being an addict is something that is and will be a lifetime struggle. It never fully goes away. Learning to adapt to clean and sober living takes time. Everyone in life makes mistakes and no one is immune to the trials and tribulations of life. But why have to deal with it for the rest of your life if you don’t have to. Ask someone who’s already doing it, and take what is told to you as a lesson for why you don’t ever want to. Sometimes it’s better if you can learn from someone else’s mistake. Take our advice and JUST SAY NO!


Ghodse, H. (2012). Drugs of Abuse and Dependence In: Cambridge University Press (ed.), Drugs and Addictive Behavior: A Guide to Treatment. (pp.98-99). New York, New York Cambridge University Press

Ghodse, H., (2002). Opiate Withdrawal In: Cambridge University Press (ed.), Drugs and Addictive Behavior: A Guide to Treatment. (p.459). New York, New York Cambridge University Press
Butelman, B., Leveron, O., Kreek, M., Schulessman, S., Yan, Y., (Oct., 2012). Opiate Addiction and Cocaine Addiction: Underlying Molecular Neurobiology and Genetics. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 122(10), 3387-3389

Wesson, D., (June, 2010). Buprenorphine in the treatment of Opiate Dependence, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 42(2), 161

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