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Alcohol and Substance Abuse - Opiates

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Member Drugs: (Brand Names) [Street Names]

  • Heroin [Horse, Junk, Smack, Snow, "H", Brown, Black]
  • Morphine
  • Codeine (OxyContin, Tylenol with Codeine)
  • Methadone, LAAM

What The Drugs Looks Like:

  • Heroin comes in the form of a white or brown crystalline substance that can be powdered.
  • Commercial opioid medications come in pill and liquid forms.

Most Typical Routes Of Administration:

  • Nose (snorting powered form)
  • Lungs (inhaling pipe smoke)
  • Mouth (swallowing pills)
  • IV (injection into a vein)

What These Drugs Do (Symptoms Typical Of Intoxication):

  • Short term effects:
    • The intense "rush" which most abusers prefer is obtained from intravenous injection
    • Feeling of well being, euphoria, relaxation, drowsiness and mental confusion
    • Higher doses and overdose can cause: sleep; very low blood pressure, slowed heart rate and respiration; low body temperature; muscle constriction; cold clammy skin; cyanosis (not enough oxygen in the bloodstream); coma and death.
    • Physical as well as emotional responses to pain are numbed
    • Apathy and an inability to concentrate,
    • Nausea, vomiting, sweating, chills
    • Slowed pulse, rate of breathing and lowered blood pressure
  • Long term effects:
    • Chronic constipation
    • Impaired vision
    • Mood swings and instability
    • As tolerance develops, the user can no longer get the pleasurable effects, but must continue taking the drug to prevent withdrawal.

Pattern of Withdrawal Symptoms:

Symptoms last 10-14 days or even longer

  • Chills and hot flashes
  • Sweating
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning fits
  • Diarrhea
  • Panic attacks
  • Bone aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Lethargy

Most Significant Problems:

  • High possibility of a potentially fatal overdose
  • Addictive with strong, painful withdrawal symptoms
  • May possibly contribute to depression or anxiety

How Tested For:

  • Blood Test (remains positive for approx. 2 days after last dose)


328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203

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