Based on a United Nations survey from 2008 the use of opiates in the United States by the normal population has continued to be stable over the past several years. Something like 0.6% of US citizens regularly use opiates like vicodin, oxycontin, methadone, and heroin. This rates 17th in the World where by Iran has the highest usage at 2.8%. This is not typical use, but usage of individuals dependent on opiates.
One more bit of information from a study on opiate addiction discovered that use among individuals without jobs is 20 times that of people that hold down full-time, or even part-time, jobs. Surprisingly many people in America can hold down jobs and use opiates recreationally, but these individuals constitute just over 1% of the employed population whilst amongst the unemployed, opiates use is more than 3%.
Consumption of opiates can occur in a variety of ways, dependent on the form of drug and the personal preference of the addict. Heroin for example can be snorted, injected or smoked whilst several opiates come in pill form-like the most popular forms oxycontin and vicodin. Even if it is produced in pill form, however, addicts still can smoke it, inject it, or snort it to accelerate the entry into the bloodstream and take full advantage of the euphoric effects. To inject or snort the substance it must first be crushed into powder form. From there it can be “cooked” with water and transferred to a needle for injection. Methadone is usually in liquid or pill form with the higher doses usually found in the liquid form.
The euphoric effects of opiate usage arise soon after the drug gets into your bloodstream and will disappear after only a couple of hours. If it is injected, the addict feels a rush followed by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and heavy limbs. After this the addict goes into an alternating status of drowsiness and alertness (called the nod). Since the central nervous system is depressed by the drug, mental acuity is decreased, speech becomes slurred, lethargy sets in, eyelids droop, vomiting can occur, and more often than not constipation.
Longer term effects of opiate usage can include pulmonary complications due to infection of the heart valves and lining, collapsed veins if injection is the usual form of delivery, and various types of pneumonia due to the general poor lifestyle of the addict. In addition to the effects of the drug itself, many forms of opiate purchased on the street (like heroin) will have additional substances added to increase the volume of the product available for sale thereby increasing the profits of the dealer. These additives may not always be dissolved once the opiate is introduced into the bloodstream resulting in clogging of the blood vessels that lead to vital organs. This can easily result in necrosis (death of cells).
If you or a loved one has developed an addiction to opiates and is wishing to get help, the first step in the recovery process would be going through a detox treatment process where the opiates are given a chance to leave the tissues of the body. Due to the fact the withdrawal symptoms can be difficult and include nausea, body aches, cravings, cold sweats, and insomnia it is generally best if you seek expert help. A good quality opiate detox treatment program will last about 10 days and include prescription medicines to help ease the pain of withdrawals and get you on the right track to recovering from your opiate addiction and leading a prosperous, sober life.