What Are Prescription Opioid Medications? 

Sjog medication displayed on counter
What Are Prescription Opioid Medications? 

Prescription medications, Opioid medications

Opioids are a class of medications obtained from the opium poppy plant. Some of the prescription opioid medications are obtained directly from the plant and others are made in labs. These medications contain chemicals that can relax the body of the user and relieve pain. Opioids that fall under the category of prescription medications are mainly used to treat moderate to severe pain. 

Opioids can also make users feel relaxed and high, and this is the reason these medications are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be really dangerous as opioids are very addictive and may lead to death when used at high doses. 

How Do People Misuse Opioid Medications?

Prescription opioid medications that are used for pain relief are usually safe when taken for a short period, as prescribed by the doctor. However, these medications can be misused. People misuse opioid medications by:

  • Taking the medication in a dose higher than what is prescribed. 
  • Taking opioid prescription medication that is prescribed for someone else. 
  • Taking opioid medications to get the high feeling. 

While misusing prescription opioid medication, the user can swallow the medication in its normal form. There are also others who crush the pills and snort the powder. 

How Can Prescription Opioids Affect The Brain? 

Opioids bind to opioid receptors that are present in various areas of the brain, spinal cord, etc, and activate these receptors. The binding of opioids to these receptors blocks the pain signals that are sent from the brain and also results in the release of large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. The release of dopamine can reinforce the act of taking opioids and this makes the user want to repeat the experience. 

When used for the short term, opioid medications can alleviate pain and can make the user relaxed. However, it can also have harmful effects like confusion, euphoria, drowsiness, constipation, nausea, decreased breathing rate, etc. Misuse of opioid medications can result in slowed breathing, which can cause hypoxia, in which only too little oxygen reaches the brain of the person. Hypoxia can have long-term and short-term neurological and psychological effects like coma, brain damage, and even death. Studies are ongoing to find out the effects of long-term opioid addiction on the brain. 

You can reduce your risk of side effects and addiction from using opioid medications by following the instructions of your doctor carefully and taking the medications as prescribed. Also, make sure that your doctor knows all the medicines and health supplements that you take.