Opium is an opioid or narcotic, made from the white liquid in the poppy plant.[1]

Typically, opium is found as a black or brown block of tar like powder. It is also available in liquid as well as in solid forms. It can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill form.[2]

This substance can induce a state of euphoria, characterized by a sense of well-being, as well as a calm drowsiness or sedation.

Understand the risks

Opium can cause a person’s breathing to slow down, potentially to the point of unconsciousness and death with large doses. Other effects include nausea, confusion and constipation. Use of the drug may dry out the mouth as well as the mucous membranes in the nose.

Use with other substances that depress the central nervous system, such as alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or general anesthetics, increases the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.

Long-term use can lead to a drug tolerance, meaning that a person will need to consume more of the drug in order to get similar euphoric effects. It can also lead to physical dependence and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if long-term use is reduced or stopped.[3]

Identify & address use

Signs of use include nausea, confusion and constipation. If you are that concerned your child may be using opium or other substances, the following resources can help you address the behavior and get them needed treatment.