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Ins and Outs of Opium and Its Derivatives Opium, one of the most potent narcotics, has been around for decades. The Chinese used it in the ancient times for both medicinal and recreational purposes. In fact, opium dens, frequented by the debauchees and criminals, also existed in many parts of Europe. Primarily cultivated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, it later drew attention of cultivators in Mexico and Colombia. As per reports, Mexico has now become the third largest producer of opium. Its proximity to the American border is a bane for the world’s largest economy, as there is a steady flow of heroin into its territory despite the increased vigilance. Opiates that include alkaloids derived from opium poppy have several medicinal purposes. Considering their effectiveness, a range of synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs known as opioids are manufactured to ensure similar therapeutic benefits. Although they do not contain opium, they play a crucial role in the management of pain. These drugs are primarily used by those suffering from chronic pain, such as cancer survivors and postoperative patients. However, opium and its derivatives are currently in news for all the wrong reasons. Being highly addictive in nature, they are abused by a large number of people. Such drugs, obtained through legal prescription or illegal market, were responsible for around 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, an increase of 22 percent from 52,404 drug deaths in the previous year. While the rise in overdose deaths is ascribed to the increase in prescription opioid abuse, heroin, fentanyl and its analogues are equally responsible for the above problem. Classification of opium derivatives The lethal sap is contained in the pod. Once the petals fall off, the growers slit open the pod to collect the sap or latex at the base for processing. Extremely bitter in taste, the sap contains alkaloids like morphine, codeine, narcotine, thebaine, papaverine and narceine. Of these, morphine, thebaine and codeine are used by the pharmaceutical industry. Drug dealers primarily use the latex for manufacturing heroin.

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There are thus two groups of opium derivatives. While one group of drugs is derived directly from opium, another set of drugs is produced from morphine. One can understand the difference through the below-mentioned classification of opium derivatives:  

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Codeine, morphine and heroin are extracted directly from opium. Derivative of derivative: These drugs are made from a derivative of opium, such as morphine. Drugs belonging to this category include oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. Synthetic opiates: Drugs like methadone, fentanyl, OxyContin, MS Contin, fentanyl duragesic patches and levorphanol do not contain any opium. However, they have properties similar to opium.

Considering the devastating impact of these drugs on the health of an individual, it becomes imperative to know the constituent of each drug that is taken as a prescription. Therefore, it is important to be aware of such drugs to prevent the development of addiction and increased dependence. Known for its addictive and dependence-causing properties, even something as innocuous as cough syrup could contain codeine. Holistic treatment for opioid addiction Any type of opioid addiction can be treated holistically through medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that includes counseling sessions, group therapies and individual therapies. A number of medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone and naloxone, have been approved for combating opioid addiction. Opioid addiction is treatable provided one sums up the courage to tackle challenges on the road to sobriety. If you or your loved one is battling prescription drug addiction, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Colorado Prescription Abuse Helpline assists in accessing the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Colorado that specialize in delivering evidencebased intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-922-5915 to know more about the drug addiction treatment centers in Colorado.

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Ins and Outs of Opium and Its Derivatives  

Opium, one of the most potent narcotics, has been around for decades. The Chinese used it in the ancient times for both medicinal and recrea...

Ins and Outs of Opium and Its Derivatives  

Opium, one of the most potent narcotics, has been around for decades. The Chinese used it in the ancient times for both medicinal and recrea...

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