Opiate Symptoms and Warning Signs

Recognizing the telltale signs of opiate addiction can be a challenge. Learn how to identify and treat an addiction to these types of prescription drugs.

Start the road to recovery

(877) 746-0480

Call Now

Treatment Center Locator

Paid Advertising

Beachside Rehab

Fort Pierce, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-452-3049

Dana Point Rehab Campus

Dana Point, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-944-2609

Recovery Unplugged Nashville

Nashville, TN

Full Spectrum of Care

877-463-0080

Recovery Unplugged – Austin Detox

Austin, TX

Detox

855-958-1650

Recovery Unplugged Lake Worth Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Center

Lake Worth, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-283-0199

Northbound Treatment Services

Irvine, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

877-918-9085

Recovery Unplugged Fort Lauderdale

Fourt Lauderdale, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

855-900-6613

Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital

Valdosta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-692-1694

North Tampa Behavioral Health

Tampa, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-870-8069

Riverwalk Ranch

Mansfield, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

866-634-7479

Recovery Unplugged Austin Rehab Center

Austin, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

844-817-9493

Boca Recovery Center – New Jersey

Galloway, NJ

Full Spectrum of Care

855-628-9076

Right Path Addiction Treatment Centers

Virginia Beach, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-982-0704

Keystone Treatment Center

Canton, SD

Multiple Levels of Care

855-417-3666

Northlake Behavioral Health System

Baton Rouge, LA

Full Spectrum of Care

1-866-647-1447

Boca Recovery Center – Florida

Boca Raton, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

888-608-4977

United Recovery Project

Hollywood, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

877-586-7043

Northeast Addiction Treatment Center

Quincy, MA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-831-4406

Cornerstone Healing Center

Scottsdale, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

844-931-1105

Newport Institute for Young Adults – Southern California

Santa Ana, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

Vermilion Behavioral Health Systems

Lafayette, LA

Multiple Levels of Care

888-494-6620

Pocono Mountain Recovery Center

Henryville, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-589-1547

SOBA New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ

Multiple Levels of Care

888-341-1174

Moonlight Mountain Recovery

Pocatello, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

866-831-4706

The Haven Detox

West Palm Beach, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-409-5866

White Deer Run

Allenwood, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-638-3697

Newport Institute for Young Adults – Northern California

Sunol, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-604-7184

The Poseidon Method

Mykonos, Greece

Full Spectrum of Care

202-370-7462

Ambrosia Treatment Center

West Palm Beach, FL

Inpatient

866-970-0918

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Westcoast

Beverly Hills, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

Duffy’s Napa Valley Rehab

Calistoga, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-766-4576

New England Recovery & Wellness

Concord, NH

Multiple Levels of Care

844-408-1433

Delta Med Center

Memphis, TN

Outpatient

877-235-0382

The Harrison House of Northern Virginia

Annandale, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-734-4364

Wish Recovery

Northridge, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-933-2789

Cove Forge Behavioral Health Center

Williamsburg, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-225-6578

Sunflower Wellness Retreat

Osawatomie, KS

Multiple Levels of Care

888-411-9183

Steps Recovery Center – St. George

St. George, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

844-919-0017

JourneyPure – Florida

Melbourne, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

(844) 899-9541

Park Royal Hospital

Fort Myers, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-763-3294

Indiana Center for Recovery

Bloomington, IN

Full Spectrum of Care

866-657-4490

Bradford Recovery Center

Millerton, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-769-9928

Clear Life Recovery

Costa Mesa, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-638-7182

Ambrosia Treatment Center – Northeast

Philadelphia, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-970-0918

The Camp Recovery Center

Scotts Valley, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-282-5771

Steps Recovery Center

Payson, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

877-696-0054

Annie’s House – A Steps Recovery Center

Draper, UT

Full Spectrum of Care

866-922-0448

Amethyst Recovery

Port St. Lucie, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

888-965-6726

Southwest Wellness Group

Phoenix, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

855-518-1067

1st Step Behavioral Health

Pompano Beach, FL

Full Spectrum of Care

844-334-8400

Starlite Recovery Center

Center Point, TX

Multiple Levels of Care

855-349-1116

Wilmington Treatment Center

Wilmington, NC

Multiple Levels of Care

877-257-1203

America’s Rehab Campuses

Tucson, AZ

Multiple Levels of Care

877-484-7367

Oceanside Malibu

Malibu, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

866-275-3956

TruVida Recovery

Lake Forest, CA

Full Spectrum of Care

888-717-0038

Lakeview Behavioral Health Hospital

Norcross, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-337-9509

The Recovery Team

Lake Park, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

844-999-2545

Southeast Addiction Center

Atlanta, GA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-614-6174

Huntington Creek Recovery Center

Shickshinny, PA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-892-1288

Rebound Behavioral Health Hospital

Lancaster, SC

Multiple Levels of Care

855-336-7623

Newport Academy – Teen Rehab Center

Bethlehem, CT

Multiple Levels of Care

866-604-7184

Treasure Valley Recovery

Nampa, ID

Multiple Levels of Care

855-248-2193

Mount Regis Center

Salem, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

877-539-2026

Bayside Marin Treatment Center

San Rafael, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

866-886-6071

Colorado Medicated Assisted Recovery

Thornton, CO

Intensive Outpatient

877-757-0618

Bluff Plantation

Augusta, GA

Inpatient

855-331-2490

Denver Recovery Center

Denver, CO

Multiple Levels of Care

855-729-4891

Wellness Counseling & Residential Detox

Stuart, FL

Multiple Levels of Care

855-937-0191

Life Center of Galax

Galax, VA

Multiple Levels of Care

855-428-7940

Burkwood Treatment Center

Hudson, WI

Residential

844-251-2961

Silver Lining Recovery

Huntington Beach, CA

Multiple Levels of Care

844-940-0031

Signs of Opiate Abuse

Opiates, also known as “opioid painkillers,” include prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine. These substances are effective pain relievers when taken as directed by a physician. However, the calming effects that opioid painkillers produce are habit-forming and can lead to future patterns of abuse.

Examples of opiate abuse include taking the medication more frequently or in larger amounts than originally prescribed. Continued patterns of opiate abuse can lead to a spiraling addiction, which is difficult to overcome without the help of medical professionals. If you suspect a loved one is struggling with a dependence on painkillers, it’s important to take action immediately before the situation becomes worse.

Detecting drug abuse early on is the most effective way of preventing an addiction from developing.

To help identify whether someone is battling a painkiller abuse problem, there are several physical and behavioral warning signs to watch out for.

The most common physical and behavioral signs of opiate abuse and addiction are:

  • Needle marks on arms and legs from intravenous (injected) use
  • Constricted, “pinpoint” pupils
  • Having trouble staying awake, or falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Flushed, itchy skin
  • Withdrawing from social activities that were once enjoyed
  • Sudden and dramatic mood swings that seem out of character
  • Impulsive actions and decision-making
  • Engaging in risky activities, such as driving under the influence
  • Visiting multiple doctors in order to obtain more prescriptions

Once a substance use disorder is identified, it’s vital to seek support as soon as possible. Some people are able to shed their abuse and addictive habits by talking to their doctor about adjusting their current prescription. Others may consider joining a 12-step program or meeting with a substance abuse counselor. However, those who have fallen victim to addiction will generally require intensive care at an inpatient rehab center.

Questions about treatment?

Get confidential help 24/7. Call now for:

  • Access to top treatment centers
  • Caring, supportive guidance
  • Financial assistance options
(855) 826-4464

Immediate Side Effects of Opiates

Short-term side effects of opioid painkillers depend on the type of drug, how much of the substance is taken and how it is administered. The effects of these drugs typically occur within 15 to 30 minutes and may last up to several hours.

The immediate side effects of painkiller use include:

  • Relaxed state of mind and body
  • Feelings of calmness
  • Increased or false confidence
  • Slowed and shallow breathing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Itchy, flushed skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoric mood
  • Lightheadedness

Ready to get help?

Don’t waste another second. Enter your number to receive a call
from a compassionate treatment expert.

Make a Call (855) 826-4464

- OR -

Request a Call
(877) 746-0480

Long-Term Side Effects of Opiates

The most damaging long-term side effect of opioid abuse is harm to the body’s vital organs. Individuals may also experience psychological issues, such as trouble concentrating, anxiety and depression.

See the list below for potential long-term side effects of these drugs:

  • Vein damage (from intravenous use)
  • Emotional instability
  • Severe constipation
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Liver damage

Don't Let Covid-19 Stop You from Getting Help

Rehabs are still open!

The Dangers of Opiates

Opiates come in several different forms and can be consumed a number of ways. Typically, these drugs are prescribed as oral capsules or tablets. While a majority of people legally obtain a prescription from their doctor, others may borrow or steal pills from family members or friends. However, using another person’s medications is illegal and constitutes abuse.

A person struggling with painkiller abuse may experiment with various intake methods in order to achieve the strongest high possible. For example, tablets can be crushed into a powder form, which is then snorted. Powders can also be dissolved in liquid and then injected into the veins.

Snorting or injecting opioids produces an immediate “rush” that is far more intense than swallowing the pill form. However, a sudden surge of these substances in the body can lead to life-threatening complications, such as respiratory failure and overdose.

There are two main reasons why these medicines are so dangerous. The first is that they are very addictive. So there’s a high risk that if you take these, you may end up addicted to opiates and in fact some recent studies suggest that three out of every four people who are currently using heroin started with prescription opiates. The second reason they’re dangerous is that they’re so powerful. They can suppress your breathing such that you die. So not only are they addictive, but they are also potentially deadly.

- Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Other serious risks of opiate abuse may include:

  • HIV/AIDS

    Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is most commonly transmitted through bodily fluids or unsterilized needles. People who inject opiates are at an elevated risk of contracting HIV/AIDS compared to those who use snorting or oral consumption methods. Excessive substance abuse can lower a person’s judgment, which may increase their likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex. Uncover more information about the connection between HIV/AIDS and drug abuse

  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome

    Neonatal abstinence syndrome can occur if a pregnant woman is struggling with substance abuse disorder, including painkillers. The substances can pass through the placenta, causing the baby to become dependent on the drug while in the womb. After birth, the baby may need to stay in the hospital for several weeks or months while the drug slowly clears from their system. Learn more about neonatal abstinence syndrome and other drug abuse risks that affect pregnant women.

Scroll to Find Your Insurance

Recognizing an Opiate Addiction

Identifying an addiction to opiates can be a challenge. This is because of the confusion that exists between what is considered abuse, and what is considered addiction.

Abuse can be defined by any inappropriate use of medications, such as:

  • Taking larger amounts of a medication than prescribed
  • Consuming a medication that was not prescribed to them
  • Mixing a medication with another substance, such as alcohol, to exaggerate the drug’s effects

Not everyone who uses painkillers becomes addicted. However, a person who abuses drugs in large amounts or over extended periods of time is more likely to fall victim to an addiction.

The hallmark characteristics of addiction include intense drug cravings and a strong desire to obtain or use the drug – despite negative consequences that may occur. A person suffering from addiction is incapable of controlling the level of their substance use. They may desperately want to quit, but they feel unable to do so on their own.

Aside from dangerous health risks, opiate abuse can also interfere with your personal life and close relationships with loved ones.

The consequences of opiate abuse and addiction often include:

  • Losing a job due to prioritizing substance use over work responsibilities
  • Financial issues stemming from spending too much money on new prescriptions
  • Criminal charges for possessing painkillers without a prescription
  • Damaged relationships with family members, friends and romantic partners

Staging an Intervention

When a person is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, their loved ones may consider staging an intervention. Interventions are planned conversations between loved ones and the person suffering. They are typically held after the person has been approached about their addiction, but denied having a problem or refused to get help. The goal of an intervention is to help the person get into treatment.

Because an addiction overpowers the brain’s sense of awareness and judgment, a person may not realize how their actions have affected their loved ones.

There is no “right” or “wrong” time to stage an intervention. Some families choose to hold an intervention when their loved one shows early signs of toxic habits. Others may feel it is necessary when a family member or friend’s addiction has scaled beyond control.

Regardless of when an intervention actually takes place, it is highly recommended to seek guidance from an intervention specialist. The specialist will be able to supervise the intervention and make sure the conversation goes as smoothly as possible.

Read our tips on staging a successful intervention.

Opiate Withdrawal Help

Breaking free from an addiction to painkillers is far from impossible. As a first step, it is highly recommended to seek out a licensed medical detoxification program. These programs help people who have become dependent on opioids overcome withdrawal symptoms. Detox programs provide a solid foundation for individuals to pursue further treatment at an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment center.

If you’re struggling with the decision to seek treatment, call a dedicated treatment provider. They can give you information to help you decide which options suit your specific needs.

Treatment professionals are waiting for your call

(855) 826-4464 Who answers your call

Take control of your life

Our treatment providers offer 24/7 assistance.

  • Access to top treatment centers
  • Caring, supportive guidance
  • Financial assistance options

Call now:

(855) 826-4464

OR

Have us call you:

(877) 746-0480

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

All calls are private and confidential. Find out more about Addiction Center.

A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.