The opioid epidemic afflicts tens of thousands of Americans every year. Opioids include prescriptions such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illicit drugs such as heroin.
Opioid use affects the brain and central nervous system and, over time, will produce an array of physical and psychological symptoms in people.
If you suspect a friend or a loved one may have opioid dependence, you may be wondering about what signs to look for.
Here you’ll find information on:
- how to identify “opioid pupils” and what causes them
- other signs and symptoms of opioid misuse
- treatment services for drug abuse
What Are Opioid Pupils?
There are several indications that someone may be on opioids, including noticeable euphoria, drowsiness, and small constricted pupils.
Normal pupils are between 2 and 4 mm large in bright light, and 4 to 8 mm in size in darkened environments. Pinpoint pupils are a telltale sign of narcotic drug abuse.
Miosis is a condition that occurs when pupils are abnormally small in a normally lit room. If you notice miosis in somebody, it may be a side effect of opioid use.
Why Do Opiates Change Someone’s Pupil Size?
Pupil constriction is a physiological effect that occurs when the Iris muscle, which is controlled by the nervous system, contracts. When someone uses opiates, their nervous system is stimulated, resulting in smaller pupils.
Pinpoint pupils can typically be associated with opioid use because most other substances cause enlarged or dilated pupils.
Other Signs Of An Opioid Addiction
There is a range of other warning signs and symptoms of prescription opioid or illicit opioid abuse.
Some of the physical and behavioral signs may include:
- decreased respiratory rate or respiratory depression
- non-responsiveness or sedation
- substantial loss or increase in appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- increase in blood pressure
- sudden change in personality
- irritability or nervousness
- a drop in work or academic performance
- isolation, or avoiding family and friends
You may also notice other warning signs and evidence of opioid use such as burnt spoons or bottle caps, syringes lying around, small bags with powder residue, and missing belts.
Treatment Programs For Substance Use Disorder
If you or someone you care about is addicted to opioids or other substances, help is available. Evidence-based treatment services will assist you in getting on the path to recovery.
Addiction treatment options may include:
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using buprenorphine or methadone
- group or individual counseling
- medically monitored detoxification
- mental health services
- crisis intervention
- dual diagnosis for co-occurring disorders
- outpatient or residential care
Substance abuse or opioid withdrawal can produce serious side effects. It’s important to seek the help of professionals to avoid drug overdose or potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
Find A Drug Rehab Center Today
For more information on opioid analgesics or the effects of opioids, call our helpline today. Our team can assist you in finding the research-based care you need to achieve sobriety.Article Sources
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Opioids
- National Institute of Health (NIH) — Current Research on Opioid Receptor Function
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Opioid Medications