Opiates help millions of people deal with and manage pain but life itself can be compromised if addiction is present. The risk of death increases with opiate use and causes can include severe reaction from withdrawal, accidental overdose and suicide.
Opiate withdrawal can be intense and dangerous, especially if large doses of medications are used. Seizures and other life threatening complications can arise. There are several ways a person can die while in treatment or during withdrawal. When a person stops using opiates for a period of time, his or her tolerance drops. If the person relapses, that reduced tolerance could cause accidental overdose.
Treatment programs often use other drugs to help alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms such as benzodiazepines and opiate replacement drugs such as Methadone and Suboxone. It’s often the case that patients in treatment may still be abusing opiates, and combining theses substances can lead to additional problems and even death. Replacement drugs work to block the euphoric effects of opiates and some people try to bypass this by manipulating the drugs or taking more of them to achieve the desired effect. Unfortunately, many people die this way.
Overdose And Suicide Are Serious Risks Of Opiate Use And Abuse
Many people who’ve become addicted to opiates have experienced an overdose on some level at some time. Some people make and it but many do not. Over time, chronic opiate abusers build immunity to the effects of the drug and develop a tolerance. When users develop a tolerance, they won’t feel the onslaught of euphoria from the opiate and will find alternative ways to achieve the desired effect.
This situation usually involves the user taking more of the drug, possibly in higher doses, or manipulating the drug or combining the drug to enhance effects. These are all dangerous scenarios that could result in death. Some people may intentionally stop their use and resist opiate intake in order to lower their body’s resistance so they can return to use and have a more intensely euphoric experience. Upon return to use, patients often take more of the drug than they are used to and overdose happens.
Suicide is common among the addicted. They often suffer through despair, desperation and loss of hope. All of these emotions could become so overwhelming that people may feel the only way out is intentional death. Opiates have the ability to desensitize people, rendering them emotionally numb. These drugs may rob the user of the ability to experience any positive feeling without being high. Many people make several attempts to quit opiates and fail, leaving them feeling worthless. They find they can’t feel normal and function without the opiates and they may simply give up.