Know the Common Signs of Opiate Abuse

drug & alcohol testing training programs

It’s often said that opioid abuse and addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. It affects people from all walks of life—teens and adults, professionals and blue collar workers alike. Opiates include any drug derived from the opium poppy plant. While all opiates are opioids, there are opioids that aren’t opiates. Some examples of opiates are heroin, morphine, and codeine.

Short-Term Indicators of Opiate Abuse

The signs of opiate abuse can be divided into short-term effects, which occur while the individual is under the influence, and long-term effects. While a person is under the influence of heroin, for example, he or she may display:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Flushed skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Cloudy thinking

Some indicators that a person is under the influence of codeine include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Apathy
  • Lack of judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with concentration and focus
  • Extreme confusion

Morphine can cause similar short-term effects, such as itching, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, morphine can result in:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Cyanosis
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart rate

Long-Term Indicators of Opiate Abuse

Some of the long-term effects of opiate abuse and addiction differ from drug to drug, but there are many similarities. Among these similarities are changes in behavior, emotions, and personality, such as the following:

  • Frequent absenteeism at work or school
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Lying and secretive behavior
  • Involvement in criminal activities
  • Theft from family members and others
  • Financial problems
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in family and friends
  • Presence of drug paraphernalia

Withdrawal Side Effects

When a person has become addicted to opiates, he or she will go through withdrawal effects when the drug is no longer in the body. Withdrawal effects typically include:

  • Extreme cravings for the drug
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramping
  • Body aches
  • Insomnia

Oschmann Employee Screening Services is a national provider of drug and alcohol testing and employee background check services with offices in Tucson, AZ and Phoenix, AZ. You can reach us at (800) 224-8532 for more details about our family and personal drug testing services, or for information about starting a drug-free workplace program.

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