What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse? The long-term effects of opioid abuse include addiction, ongoing health problems affecting many different areas of the body, and even death.

When used properly, prescription opioids can treat ailments such as severe pain, coughing, and diarrhea. When these drugs are misused, however, the ramifications can be life-changing. The long-term effects of opioid abuse include addiction, damage to many of the body’s critical systems, and—in severe cases—death.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

The continued misuse of opioids can lead to addiction, a severe substance abuse disorder (SUD) that can result in:

It can be extremely difficult for a person who is addicted to opioids to stop using the drug because of the severe withdrawal symptoms that typically develop when they attempt to do so. These can begin just hours after the person’s last dose and can include anything from muscle spasms and internal cramping to vomiting, diarrhea, and insomnia.

Effects of Opioid Abuse on Your Health

Because opioids bind to receptors in many different organs, opioid abuse can have a profound impact on many different aspects of your health. Studies have shown that “opioid therapy can adversely affect the respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems.”

Hypoxia and Opioid Abuse

Although opioids relieve pain in the short term, the long-term effects of opioid use include a slowed breathing rate that can make it difficult for the brain to receive the oxygen it needs to function correctly. This can result in hypoxia, which can have effects such as coma, irreversible brain damage, and death.

Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose

Opioid abuse can also lead to accidental overdoses, which can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common symptoms of an opioid overdose are:

If you suspect someone may be suffering from an opioid overdose, call 9-1-1 for help right away.

Warning Signs of Opioid Abuse

It can be difficult to know if a loved one is abusing opioids. Some warning signs of opioid abuse to look for include:

If a loved one is acting in any of the above ways, talk to their doctor or healthcare professional as soon as possible. If their doctor does not take action to investigate your suspicions, you may be eligible to pursue a medical malpractice claim against them.

Opioid Abuse Can Be a Sign of Medical Malpractice

When a doctor or other healthcare professional prescribes opioids to manage a patient’s pain, they must take reasonable steps to ensure the patient’s safety during and after the recommended course of treatment.

The prescribing doctor may be liable for your injuries, losses, and other expenses stemming from opioid abuse if they:

Even if an opioid overdose doesn’t lead to death, you can still file for medical malpractice. You can hold a negligent doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider liable for opioid abuse injuries as soon as they occur. Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about the options that may be available to you.

Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for More Information

If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of opioid abuse, a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help. Call Newsome Melton today at 855-633-2757 for a free consultation with a member of our team. You are not alone.


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