People who take opiates without having a valid prescription and legitimate medical need put themselves at risk for a host of problems. These very potent drugs, including codeine and morphine, are often used for pain relief and sometimes, cough suppression.
A doctor will prescribe these medications if he or she feels there is a medical need, and that benefits outweigh risks. Unfortunately, this class of drugs is often abused for other purposes. Opiates are narcotics and can produce feelings of euphoria and sedation, especially when abused.
Opioids are synthesized from naturally occurring opiates, including those mentioned above. Opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) are often misused and abused. Opiates and opioids can be habit forming, leading to dependence and addiction.
Specific Risks Include Opiate Addiction and Accidental Overdose
Other risks involving the use of opiates include tolerance, increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia), a painful withdrawal, possible overdose and accidental death. Because of these risks, it's very important that patients that do have a prescription follow directions for use very closely. This can help to reduce risks.
Opiates are meant to be tightly controlled by the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. This classifies drugs based on their medical need and abuse potential. There is such a huge demand for these drugs that black market peddlers are more than happy to supply customers. This is because there is a huge profit to be made off the diversion and illicit trade of opiates.
Getting Opiates Without a Prescription Is Not Worth The Risks
There are many ways in which a person may get his or her hands on opiates without a prescription. They include:
- Buying them on the black market
- Diversion from pharmacies or other sources
- Pharmacy or personal theft
- Doctor shopping, or going to multiple doctors to secure supplies
- Buying them from shady websites, many which offer counterfeit and sometimes dangerous prescription medications
There are many risks involved with procuring opiates in an illegal or deceptive manner. For one, people can never be sure that what they're getting is legitimate and in the right dosage. This can lead to serious reactions, including fatal respiratory depression. In addition, there may be health and legal consequences.
Opiate addiction is very real and can develop very quickly if people misuse or abuse their medication. This problem is hard to kick without help, and it may also be dangerous. Professional opiate detox is preferred because it can offer an extra measure of safety. Opiate detox and rehab typically offer a safer outcome than opiate detox at home.