Recreational use of opiates may start out innocent. Many users are introduced to opiates either from a friend, or family member who has a prescription. The user rationalizes that since it's a prescription medication, it must be safe. That is the furthest from the truth.
The initial feeling of taking an opiate is euphoria and numbing sensation which is generally a pleasant feeling to most people. They figure that taking a pill on occasion won't harm them. What starts out as once a week "reward" or "party pill" can quickly snowball into a serious addiction. What happens with most users is they get the initial taste in their hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that registers pleasure. When you take an opiate, your brain reaches a new peak of euphoria which is rarely felt before. In some users this sparks a new plateau of pleasure, which is how addiction begins.
When this new level of pleasure is felt in the brain, most users try to attain the feeling again. Humans are animals of pleasure, which is why addiction can be so strong. Our brains have evolved that when we feel pleasure, we want more of it. When you know there is a pill that can make you feel amazing, chances are you are going to want to try it again. This begins the cycle of addiction. You begin to take opiates more frequently, and before you know it your body is dependent on them. What started out innocently enough, has quickly become a problem you never expected.
The rate of opiate abuse use in young teens has skyrocketed over the last 10 years. If you were to ask one of these teens what withdrawals were like, most would have no idea. The fact that they are unaware of the consequences of “experimenting” with opiates most often leads to them being more open to trying them again. Before they realize it, they do not have the means to get more of the opiates and they begin to feel sick from withdrawals. They have no idea why they are sick until it's too late. They feel the withdrawal symptoms and seek more opiates to relieve these symptoms and a vicious cycle of addiction is born.
When it comes to prescription medications, they are easily obtained in many homes. Many parents and grandparents have left over pain killers in medicine cabinets from injuries. These pills are easily taken by teens and abused. Locking up painkillers in a lock box or dropping them off at your local police department or pharmacy is a great way to get rid of them (Do not flush the pills down the toilet as they can get into drinking sources). Opiate addiction can quickly destroy lives and families.
Educate your children on the effects prescription painkillers have. Explain to them that with any high they feel, they will feel an even greater low. That low will come with symptoms that feel like the flu but stronger including depression, anxiety, and low enthusiasm. That first pill leads you to another and so on. Get educated, there is no such thing as a recreational opiate user.