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The term “opioid” refers to a wide array of natural and synthetic substances derived from the poppy plant which bind to opioid receptors in the brain, and which are typically used as painkillers. On t
Common warning signs include:
Opioids can lead to various forms of adverse effects, including addiction, withdrawal and intoxication.
• Addiction or substance abuse occurs with prolonged use of opioids, and includes the development of tolerance—the need for higher doses to achieve the desired effects—, craving the substance and having difficulties stopping or cutting down on doses, continuing use despite significant problems with work, family and other relationships related to the abuse, and the development of withdrawal upon attempting to stop, among other symptoms.
• Withdrawal occurs when prolonged opioid use is stopped suddenly. It includes severe anxiety or depression, widespread pain, especially headaches and muscle and abdominal pains, along with intense craving for the substance.
• Intoxication occurs with high doses of opioids and can be lethal. It is especially frequent in subjects with opioid abuse who have developed tolerance and thus require higher dose to achieve the desired effects. Opioid intoxication includes constricted pupils and slower heart rate, as well as drowsiness and slower breathing which can lead to coma and respiratory arrest.
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- Marianne Beare Vyas, RN, MSN, ANP-BCa, Virginia T. LeBaron, PhD, APRN, FAANPa, Aaron M. Gilson, PhD, MSSW
- Tori Rodriguez, MA, LPC
- Esther K. Choo, MD, MPH Sarah W. Feldstein Ewing, PhD Travis I. Lovejoy, PhD, MPH
- Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD, Brendan Saloner, PhD, Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS, and Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP
- Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS