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Opiates - Causes and Effects

Opiates are narcotics which contain Opium. Opium is derived from the pod of the poppy Papover somniferum. There are two processes which remove the extract. Once in a usable form Opium can be taken orally or can be smoked. Opium is an ingredient in the following narcotics:

Morphine, Codeine & Thebaine

Morphine is used exclusively in hospitals, excluding the use by drug abusers, as a pain reliever. It is allowed into the body in several ways including; injection under the skin, intramuscularly, or intravenously. It is also marketed as white crystals for smoking, and hypodermic tablets for oral ingestion. Most of the morphine obtained from opium is converted to codeine, and secondarily, to hydro morphine.

Codeine is produced from morphine and is found in several legal products outside of a hospital. It is for moderate pain relief and is sometimes combined with aspirin, acetaminophen, Robitussin AC, Cheracol and elixir of terpin hydrate. Codeine can be taken orally and it can be injected.

Thebaine is a minor constituent of opium, an alkaloid present in another species of poppy Papover bracteatum. Although thebaine is alike morphine and codeine it produces stimulant effects rather than a depressant effect. At this time thebaine is not used in this country for medical purposes, but instead is converted into a variety of medically important compounds.

The duration of the effects of any opium compound varies from 3 - 6 hours.

Possible Effects:

Euphoria; Drowsiness; Respiratory depression; Constricted pupils; Nausea.

Effects of Overdose:

Slow and shallow breathing; Clammy skin; Convulsions; Coma; Possible death.

Withdrawl Syndrome:

Watery eyes; Runny nose; Yawning; Loss of appetite; Irritability; Tremors; Panic; Chills and sweating; Cramps; Nausea.

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