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Opiates Side Effects

Drug users seek opiates as a means to a temporary high, often encompassed by feelings of calm and well-being. However, they may also notice that opiate abuse side effects aren’t quite as pleasant as the initial high. As with any drug, there are many short- and long-term effects of opiate use, some of which are life-threatening or fatal. There are minor differences between the long-term opiate effects depending on which opiate or opioid is used, but a common thread among all of them is an immediate danger to the health and safety of the addicted individual.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 01 2023 | Updated Oct 11 2023

Short-Term Side Effects of Opiate Use

Opiate abuse side effects are unpleasant, even in the short term. One of the most common side effects of opiate abuse is constipation. Users may experience nausea, dry mouth, and a decreased sex drive. Certain individuals may also suffer tremors or seizures, even after only one dose. Feelings of confusion can easily grow to include a sense of paranoia. The pupils of the eyes will constrict to pinpoints, and the reflexes will be dulled. These initial short-term side effects can be difficult to spot from an outside perspective, but when it comes to long-term effects, opiates are not as shy.

Long-Term Side Effects of Opiate Use

The long-term effects of opiate use take their toll all over the body. The immune system may have suffered irreparable damage, making the individual more susceptible to illness. The gastrointestinal tract, directly affected by opiates, can be damaged or weakened, resulting in a higher likelihood of constipation or internal bowel perforation. The individual may notice respiratory issues, heart weakness, and lung complications. Sleep apnea, in which an individual ceases to breathe for short periods during sleep, may occur. If the body is deprived of oxygen on a regular basis, permanent brain damage may occur. As with the short-term side effects of opiate abuse, death is always a possibility, especially in instances of an overdose or mixed drugs.

In the case of heroin users, long-term opiate effects can include collapsed veins, heart infection, clogged vessels, and the development of liver disease. One of the rarer long-term opiate effects is the development of hyperalgesia, or a heightened sense of pain. A dry mouth also can develop over time into a long-term effect. Opiates reduce the amount of saliva produced, which creates an ideal environment for tooth decay and bad breath without the assistance of regular dental hygiene.

What Can I Do?

For individuals who decide that they or a loved one need help on the road to addiction recovery, alternative rehab programs and addiction counseling are only a call away. BetterAddictionCare is proud to offer a 100% confidential connection to professional programs and counselors nationwide. After an individualized pre-screening to determine which treatment center is the best match, a client can begin their recovery in a professionally supervised environment, including management and treatment of side effects in a safe and comfortable way. BetterAddictionCare can also offer a highly trained recovery team to provide support after treatment concludes. Call today or fill out our contact form to get help now.


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