Opioids are a class of pain-relieving drugs that include prescription painkillers like OxyContin, codeine and morphine as well as street drugs such as heroin. Majorly used to treat severe pain associated with surgery and diseases such as cancer, opioids affect the areas of the brain that sense pain and are highly addictive. They can create a sense of euphoria in individuals using these due to which they become dependent on the drugs.
Opioids can be abused in a variety of ways. These can be ground and snorted – a dangerous method often resulting in an overdose – or mixed with water and injected or smoked. The situation can get really difficult if a person continues to take painkillers that were prescribed for a medical condition from which he/she has successfully recovered. This, in turn, makes opioid addiction treatment an uphill task.
Initially, most users abuse opioids simply because it feels good – the pain-dulling effects of the drug can create a sense of euphoria in some users. However, the body builds up a tolerance to the effects of opioids over time, forcing users to abuse increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the same effects. Eventually, users begin to experience severe flu-like symptoms when they don’t take the drug, a condition also known as withdrawal. As a result, this makes opioid addiction less about seeking the initial euphoric rush, and more of a way to escape withdrawal effects.