Opioids: What you need to Know

Derived from the opium that comes from poppy plants, opioids are a classification of drug that is used to treat pain.  Users experience a sensation of euphoria and well-being from taking opioids. Some common opioids include:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Hycodan)
  • Morphine (MS Contin, Kadian)
  • Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percoset)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)

While these opioids are legitimately used to treat pain, users develop a tolerance to the effects of the drugs over time. This requires an increased dose in order to achieve the same effects. Over time, users may find the euphoric effects addictive, begin to think obsessively about opioids, and participate in illegal activities to obtain more.

Tolerance to opioid’s euphoric effects occurs before tolerance to the drug itself. Because of this, people can overdose by mistake in trying to achieve a greater high. With prolonged and/or frequent use, the need for opioids continues to increase, creating a greater addiction. Symptoms of opioid use and addiction include:

  • poor coordination
  • drowsiness and slurred speech
  • physical agitation, depression, and irritability
  • poor decision making
  • abandoning responsibilities or lowered motivation
  • mood swings
  • euphoria
  • anxiety attacks

Opioids may be the hardest to detect, as each has a different metabolism time and they leave the body quickest of all drugs. In general, blood tests have the shortest detection period at no longer than 12-24 hours. Opioids are detectable in saliva and urine tests for up to 4 days and in hair for up to 90 days. Visit this website for a further breakdown of specific opioids.

As an employer, you have the legal right to test all your employees before hire and at any time during employment if you have reasonable suspicion that your employee is using opioids. If you, other supervisors, or employees notice changes in a fellow employee, take action immediately through Nationwide Drug Testing Services. We offer affordable and reliable tests with quick results and convenient testing locations.

Call today to schedule an appointment or order online!