What Is Opium?
Opium is a depressant narcotic drug that is available in both natural and synthetic forms. It naturally comes from the seed pod of an opium poppy and usually looks like a yellow or brown latex or gummy substance. Natural forms of opium include morphine and codeine, while synthetic forms include fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone. The drug can be manufactured into a powder, liquid tincture, or pill and can be smoked or taken orally.
When sold illegally, opium is sometimes called Aunti, Aunti Emma, Big O, O, Black pill, Chandu, Chinese Molasses, Dopium, Dream Gun, Fi-Do-Nie, Gee, Guma, Midnight Oil, or Zero. This extremely addictive drug works by slowing down messages between the brain and body.
Opium dates back to as far as 3400 BC when it was used by Greeks and Romans as a pain reliever. Today, most of the world’s supply of natural opium comes from Latin America or Afghanistan. It is rarely grown in the U.S., but opium is still abused widely across the country. Heroin, which is one of the most addictive illicit drugs, actually comes from the morphine found in opium.
Why Do People Use Opium?
While opium was previously used as a pain reliever, it is more commonly used illicitly today. Some forms, like oxycodone, may be prescribed by a doctor for severe pain. Individuals who are prescribed any type of opium should use it with caution. When used illicitly, different forms of opium are taken to produce an intense high.
Short-Term Effects of Opium
The short-term effects of opium vary depending on an individual’s age, weight, history with opium, and more. However, there are some general effects that occur pretty quickly. Some short-term effects of opium use may include:
- Shallow breather
- Lower heart rate
- Impaired reflexes
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Itchy skin or skin rash
- Hives or welts
While some of these symptoms may not be pleasant, they are not typically life-threatening. If you experience any prolonged rashes or welts, however, it’s recommended to contact a doctor as soon as possible. With extended or frequent use, opium may cause addiction and other severe effects.
Opium Risks and Warnings
As we mentioned earlier, opium comes with a high chance of addiction and abuse. Because of this, different forms of opium may cause withdrawal or overdose. Someone who is overdosing from opium may experience symptoms such as slow breathing, tiny pupils, or loss of consciousness. If you witness someone who is overdosing from opium, you should seek emergency medical attention for them immediately. Opium also comes with a risk of complications such as lead poisoning.
Preventing Opium Abuse
Opium should only be used according to prescription for chronic pain. If you experience any negative side effects, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
Opium has the potential to be very dangerous when misused or not used according to dosage. To learn more about more short-term and some long-term side effects of opium use, contact our team of substance use and abuse treatment professionals by calling 866.345.2147.