Common Signs Of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Prescription painkiller abuse is on the rise. Problematic use or abuse includes everything from injecting or snorting ground-up prescription pills to get a high to taking a friend’s painkillers for a backache. The abuse may become compulsive and ongoing, despite the many negative consequences. This problem can affect all age groups; however, it is more common in teens.

The prescription drugs most often abused include stimulants, painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, and sedatives. Early identification and intervention is essential to prevent the abuse from turning into a full-blown addiction. A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource, is an addiction and treatment resource that aims to help our readers understand addiction and how to treat different types of addiction.

According to users, opiate painkillers give a high similar to that provided by heroin. Sadly, abusers of prescription painkillers tend to gravitate towards heroin. In fact, several states are making it more difficult to get prescription drugs for illicit use, which is why many people have been turning to heroin.

Signs of Prescription Painkiller Abuse

People who are abusing prescription drugs will often have constricted pupils and will appear drowsy and tired. Early in their abuse, they may get nauseated and itchy, and as the drug kicks in, they may vomit. Those who have been crushing and snorting the drugs may leave rolled dollar bills and short straws around, along with small mirrors. Smokers of the drug are likely to leave pipes around, while those who inject it may leave syringes, droppers, syringe caps, and rubber tubes.

People who are high on opiates may show the following signs:

• Drowsiness
• Anxiety
• Reduced social interaction
• Poor concentration and memory
• Slow breathing
• Constipation
• Mood swings
• Slow reaction and movement
• Depression and apathy

Once addiction kicks in, there will be behavioral and lifestyle changes. They will spend all the money they have on drugs and start selling when their money runs out. Their thoughts will be preoccupied with finding drugs and they may even turn to crime to get drug money. They will neglect their families, work, school, and have an overall change in attitude.

Most addicts feel that the only way they can feel normal is to be high. Often, they deny that they have a problem, or make excuses and promise to do better. However, they never deliver on the promise: not without help. A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource are here to help such people.

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How Opiates Affect Behavior

Opiates are a collection of drugs that come from the opium derivative family. Examples of some common opiates are heroin, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Opiates are drugs that cause two prevalent feelings to occur: drowsiness and pain relief. Such drugs affect the opioid receptors of the brain, and those receptors control the presence of pain. Many people experience euphoria when they take opiates, which makes them highly vulnerable to developing drug addictions. The following describes how opiates affect behavior.


Scratching is one common behavior that many people perform when they use opiates. Some people exhibit extremely intense scratching on the arms or legs that causes them to develop open sores. The scratching comes from extreme itching or a feeling that one’s skin is crawling. Scratching is one of the most common symptoms of opiate use that occurs.


Nodding is another common opiate induced behavior. Nodding is a term that describes when a person falls asleep while he or she is sitting or standing. Opiates are heavily sedative drugs, and many people give away their addictions by nodding. People should not operate vehicles or dangerous machinery while they are taking prescription opiates.


Extreme pleasantness is one of the not-so-bad behaviors that occur when a person is under the influence of an opiate substance. The person will feel as if nothing could go wrong and everything is perfect. The euphoria may seem nice, but thee person will mostly likely lose the feeling when the drug wears off.

Addictive Behaviors

People exhibit certain behaviors when they are addicted to opiates and not just taking them. Addictive behaviors include lying to friends and family members, hiding, missing work, neglecting romantic relationships and fighting and conducting criminal activities such as stealing.

The long-term use of opiates can affect a person’s mental health and clarity, as well. The individual could suffer from depression, anxiety, frequent mood swings and memory loss. The drug changes the levels of serotonin in the brain, and permanent depletion of that chemical can occur from misuse. Persons should only use prescribed opiate medications for short terms. Alternative, non-addictive pain medications are available for long-term use.

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Genetically Modified Yeast Could Be Used To Home-Brew Opiates

Home-brew opiates could soon be a thing, thanks to genetically modified strains of yeast. Engineered by scientists in Canada and California, the yeast feasts on sugar to produce opiates, the critical ingredient in pain medication such as morphine. This development is a coup for drug companies and scientists who currently rely on extracting drugs such as codeine and morphine directly prom poppy and other plants, a process that is both expensive and harmful to health.

The discovery could mean more affordable medications because biochemists will not have to wait for months for poppy fields to grow. Rather, they will have the ability to brew large quantities of pure opiates overnight. However, in the wrong hands, it could have dangerous consequences. Dodgy individuals, most without any biology knowledge, may start making dangerous drugs at home the same way people brew beer at home.

Producing the same opiates poppy plants do is a fascinating prospect from a pharmaceutical perspective. Cultivating yeast is a lot simpler than growing fields of poppy plants. In addition, home–brew opiates have more potential to be engineered for specific medical purposes. It is difficult to subtract or add genes into a plant. By changing certain genes in yeast and adding different DNA, the yeast can double every two hours, which is why scientists are so excited about this new development.

To imagine how researchers moved the process of making opiates from poppies to yeast, picture a 15–step staircase. Glucose sits at the bottom, while codeine, morphine, and other benzylisoquinoline alkaloids fill the top level. At each step, a different enzyme turns the glucose into a new, more complex structure. Scientists used yeast for the final steps to fabricate the compounds created at the previous steps into opiates. This new discovery will allow scientists to build strains of yeast that could take glucose and produce reticuline, the chemical predecessor for all benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.

Because of the potential dangers of home-brew opiates, there should be an independent discussion on how to prevent or regulate illicit use.

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Explained


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a conglomeration of physical, emotional and cognitive disorders that people suffer as a result of early exposure (at fetal developmental stages during pregnancy) to alcohol. Pregnant women who indulge in alcohol risk having their babies experience improper or inadequate organ development, and, as a result, suffer physical and mental incapacitation later in life. Slowed mortal coordination, reduced concentration, abnormal facial and limb structures, as well impaired hearing and vision comprise some of the FAS symptoms.

The Effects Of Alcohol On Fetal Development

Adult human kidneys filter much of the consumed alcohol to limit the amount of alcohol that reaches vital organs. However, fetuses do not have well-developed kidneys, and as alcohol seeps from the mother to the fetus, through the placenta, the harmful alcohol ingredients hamper the proper development of the brain and other body organs. Typical FAS symptoms include impaired cognitive functions, poor social skills, heart and kidney problems, deformed fingers and other body organs, retarded growth, and hyperactivity.

FAS Treatment

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about some of the FAS symptoms such as facial deformities, head size, and other deformities except for their management. However, parents of FAS patients can adopt lifestyles that enable them accommodate FAS patients, as well as help them live fulfilling lives. Social and cognitive training can be provided to increase patients thought processes and social interactions. For instance, FAS affected children that suffer from reduced concentration, hence have reduced learning ability can have tutors and other educational coaches that can train them after school hours. Some drugs may be prescribed to manage anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity.

The consumption of alcohol by pregnant women affects fetal development and the future quality of life of FAS patients. Although FAS is irreversible, it is entirely preventable in that pregnant and aspiring mothers should stop their alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy. Some FAS symptoms can be managed, but others cannot be reversed or treated. We, A Calming Tide: Drug, Alcohol and Behavioral Resource, publish relevant information concerning FAS and other conditions, as well as addiction and rehabilitation information. Follow us for additional Addiction, Treatment, and Behavioral Health.