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What should I know about opioid addiction?

Opioids like heroin, codeine, and oxycodone all have a very high potential for abuse. The effects of these drugs have both short and long-term consequences, in addition to possible legal issues associated with using illegal substances. Healthline explains the impact of opioids on a person’s health, as well as what you should look for if you believe a loved one is addicted. 

While anyone who takes opioids can become addicted, some people have a higher risk of developing a problem than others. Past issues with drug abuse or a history of mental illness are both considered risk factors for addiction. Your family history can also play a role. For example, people who grew up around drug use and abuse, or those who have close family members struggling with addiction issues of their own are all susceptible to opioid addiction. 

People take these drugs for the short-lived sense of euphoria they provide, but these good feelings are accompanied by serious physical complications. People who regularly use opiates face an increased risk of HIV and hepatitis when using the drug intravenously. Due to the slowed breathing rate, which is an effect of these drugs, users are also prone to choking and can also fall into a coma. Opiate abuse also impacts your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to illness. 

Long-term use also causes serious withdrawal symptoms, which make it hard to quit using the drug on your own. People in withdrawal often experience nausea, anxiety, aching muscles, night sweats, irritability, problems sleeping, among many other symptoms. Because these symptoms are highly uncomfortable, many people relapse without proper assistance. Medically-assisted detox ensures a person can stop using opiates in a safe and monitored environment. From there, many people are placed in long-term rehab facilities to receive intensive therapy. 

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