The use and abuse of opiates has been on the rise in the recent times. This is both with prescription medication as well as street or illegal drugs. When gotten from healthcare facilities, they are mainly administered as a remedy for chronic pain. However, the drugs are also known to produce euphoria, which is one of the major reasons why many recreational users abuse them. In addition, addiction to prescription drugs is mainly a result of the function of the drugs.

They are known to interfere with the normal functioning of the nerve cells in the brain. The nerve cells are known to produce feel-good chemicals or natural painkillers known as endorphins. When opiates are ingested, they introduce artificial endorphins in the brain, in which case the production of the natural painkillers is hampered.

This may not be much of an issue if the consumption of opiates is in the short term. However, in the long term, the nerve cells degenerate, in which case the individual becomes totally dependent on the opiates. It is this dependence that leads to a compulsive use of the drugs even when they have detrimental or damaging effects on one’s body, social life and, even, productivity.


After using the drugs for some time, individuals realize that the drugs have become less effective in inducing euphoria as well as reliving pain. This is mainly due to the buildup of chemical tolerance, since the body will have adjusted to having a particular amount in the system. In essence, for the individual to obtain similar effects they will have to increase the drugs. Given the fact that the chemical tolerance would continue increasing, the individual has to compensate with a progressive increase in the dose.

One thing to acknowledge is that the side effects that an individual experiences are subject to the opiate used, the dose, administration method and, even, the source. Common side effects include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decrease of thirst
  • Depressed heart rate
  • Depressed brain activity
  • Depressed sexual desire

Notably, the tolerance of the body to pain would also be increased.

Opiates Addiction Side Effects

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired vision
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Shallow breathing
  • Constricted pupils
  • Excessive shaking
  • Raw or red nostrils
  • Runny nose and eyes

Opiate side effects are also felt by pregnant mothers. In fact, these drugs are known to have harmful effects on the developing fetus. If pregnant women take opiates, they stand a higher risk of breech deliveries, stillbirths, premature births, as well as spontaneous deliveries. In addition, the babies that are born to these mothers suffer withdrawal symptoms just like those in adults.

While not every individual may have started taking opiates with the sole aim of abusing them, everyone addicted or dependent on them would best seek medical intervention as soon as possible in a opiate abuse rehabilitation center.