Anyone exposed to opiates will experience excess dopamine released in the reward center of their brains. Most people do not become addicted after taking opiates and many people can take prescription drugs like Oxycontin responsibly as prescribed The risk of abusing opiates is higher if “it rruns in the family” and you have a genetic predisposition to addiction or if you have experienced a psychological trauma or social situations that have been damaging.

While the pharmaceutical industry and irresponsible prescription practices by physicians may be to blame for the Opiate Crisis, there has also been a dramatic increase in nonmedical use of illicit opiates in Canada. Opiate use and abuse is on the rise, particularity in youth which has lead to an overdose epidemic.

Side effects of opioid abuse may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation and severe abdominal cramping
  • Depressed respiration

Signs and symptoms of opioid intoxication may include:

  • Problematic mental health, Behavioural or psychological changes such as agitation, impaired judgment or apathy
  • Drowsiness or unconsciousness including coma
  • Impaired attention or memory
  • Slurred speech
  • Constricted pupils