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Thread: Opium Significantly Raises Mortality

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    Joe willie is offline Senior Member
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    Default Opium Significantly Raises Mortality

    According to a study published in BMJ (British Medical Journal), individuals who use opium for long periods of time, even in relatively low doses, are more than twice as likely to die from several major causes including cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory conditions.

    Results from the study, conducted in northern Iran, raise questions regarding the risks of long term prescription opioids for chronic pain treatment.

    Opium consumption is extremely common in Iran and approximately 20 million individuals worldwide use opium or its derivatives. This study is the first to measure the risks of mortality in opium users vs.non-users

    Prior investigations indicate that opium may play a role in coronary heart disease, throat cancer, bladder cancer and other conditions. However, researchers are unsure about the effects opium has on overall mortality, particularly for low-doses used over a long period.

    In order to examine the association between opium use and subsequent risk of death, the researches studied opium use among 50,045 adults, aged 40 to 75, living in Golestan Province in northern Iran, for an average of 5 years.

    8,487 (17%) study participants reported using opium. Those who used opium did so for an average duration of 12.7 years. During the study period 2,145 deaths were reported.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe willie View Post
    and approximately 20 million individuals worldwide use opium or its derivatives.
    That seems like a very conservative estimate. Maybe they left out a couple or three decimals . . . 20 million out of 7 billion??

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    I would imagine that opium users, most of whom are addicts, either use it for legit pain/disease or pleasure/disease and thus have a higher mortality rate. Just an inherent flaw in the study that jumped out at me, too big a variable. Is it the opium or the lack of taking care of oneself that inevitably befalls an addict? Or the disease that caused them to start taking it in the first place?

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    I have a really hard time trusting any "science" that comes out of Iran, and yes I realize that it is a British study. The black tar that comes from the poppies contains many individual components, agonists and antagonists. Were the users using a highly refined form of one component or just smoking the black tar. This entry is quite interesting but much more needs to be known before any conclusions can be made.
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    Iran....you may know that's the country with the highest percentage of addicts in the world. Iranian raw opium it's a delicatesse. During the Shah rule a super selected opium quality was called 'Senator' to make clear who the product was targeted at. The regime has been trying hard to crack down on opium consumer accomplishing nothing because it's been in their culture since ancient times. I of course haven't read the research but be sure that whoever conducts a research in Iran does that with the permission supervision control and censorship of the regime. Actually , intuitively I'd say pure opium is the safest. Street opiates and opiate/oids med hit much harder on people IMHO.

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    Dang everything that I seem to enjoy has increased mortality rate

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    Funny, in the late 1800s and early 1900s huge numbers of men, women, and children were opium addicts by way of so-called patent medicines, nearly all of which had as their only real active ingredient a tincture of opium. They didn't seem to be dying in droves, or otherwise suffering extreme ill effects from it. Overdosage is deadly, of course. But aside from that, the stuff didn't become truly dangerous until it was made illegal. How has that made it more dangerous? Um, the person I try to buy it from might rob me and kill me instead. For starters.
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    @Joewillie I agree with you but not really because of any study I've smoked Opium for years and finally had to stop. The reason is when you purify the juice from the pods many quick buck artist use toxic chemicals to speed up the process to get Opium in a solid form. And it doesn't help that Opium has a fairly large amount of Tars left over plant matter. The product you hear about most (which caused the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1927 was laudanum it's history and chemical makeup are simple tincture of opium laudanum is made from a solution of macerated raw opium and 50% alcohol. It is believed to have originated as a secret remedy of Paracelsus, sixteenth century Swiss alchemist and physician. The Macerated part is just grain alcohol cut with water. The stuff will knock you on you ass and get you strung out quick. But except for liver damage I don't see where it could do much physical harm notice I didn't say psychical harm. @PATRICKZ I think what you were talking about was Paregoric which was Tincture of opium and until the late 60's could be bought by just signing a book at the pharmacist counter. Mommies used to put the kiddies to sleep with it. If they were teething bad mommy would add a teaspoon of whiskey and sugar to the brew and poof sleeping baby. I will let the group in on a little secret vaporizers work just fine for Opium. God is Good God is Great.
    Last edited by dsteury; 05-23-2012 at 01:02 AM.

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    No, not exactly. Paregoric was not a "patent medicine" at all. It was (is?) a legitimate pharmaceutical preparation that was targeted at a few specific disorders, though it was no doubt prescribed for many other problems. But you did need a prescription to buy it in most places, so far as I know. Patent medicines were something else entirely. They were generally a tincture (i.e. dissolved in alcohol) of opium in a brown bottle, with a fancy label that had an outrageously bogus ingredient list, almost none of which was ever true. Many of them did not even list opium as an ingredient. They were sold in dime stores, hardware stores, out of the wagons of traveling salesmen, pretty much everywhere. It goes without saying that purchase of same didn't require a prescription of any sort. They were extremely popular in the US in the last half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. They were driven off the market by (first) laws passed that required a factual list of ingredients and then by laws outlawing the sale of opium except on a doctor's prescription.

    Solomon Snyder wrote (in 1989):

    "In absolute numbers, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States had more opium addicts than it does today. This is remarkable when one considers that the population of the United States now is three times greater than it was in 1900.
    "Even more remarkable is the fact that the roughly 250,000 opium addicts in 1900 provided virtually no hazard to the general public. Being an opiate addict in those days was considered a minor character defect, very much like obesity in our time."

    And:

    "Why was opiate addiction so much more benign in the nineteenth century? What has changed so dramatically? The answer lies very much in the setting in which the drugs were used. It also relates to the way in which our legal system has regulated the use and abuse of opiates a hundred years ago and today."

    (_Brainstorming_, 1989)


    I'm not going to type the entire book verbatim, but he also goes into how opiates, as a drug class, have no cumulative ill effects from even decades of habitual use. In other words, so long as your drug is clean and pure, and you avoid overdose, there is no long-term cumulative damage like there is with alcohol, cigarettes, and most other drugs of use and abuse. And Snyder is the one who would know. There is no more respected name in opiate research.

    Anybody who doesn't know who the man is can't legitimately claim to be a junkie geek. Or at least not a dedicated one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe willie View Post
    According to a study published in BMJ (British Medical Journal), individuals who use opium for long periods of time, even in relatively low doses, are more than twice as likely to die from several major causes including cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory conditions.

    Results from the study, conducted in northern Iran, raise questions regarding the risks of long term prescription opioids for chronic pain treatment.

    Opium consumption is extremely common in Iran and approximately 20 million individuals worldwide use opium or its derivatives. This study is the first to measure the risks of mortality in opium users vs.non-users

    Prior investigations indicate that opium may play a role in coronary heart disease, throat cancer, bladder cancer and other conditions. However, researchers are unsure about the effects opium has on overall mortality, particularly for low-doses used over a long period.

    In order to examine the association between opium use and subsequent risk of death, the researches studied opium use among 50,045 adults, aged 40 to 75, living in Golestan Province in northern Iran, for an average of 5 years.

    8,487 (17%) study participants reported using opium. Those who used opium did so for an average duration of 12.7 years. During the study period 2,145 deaths were reported.


    I am in a significant amount of physical pain every day. The only thing that has ever helped me is an opiod based substance. If I had to live with my pain, with no help, I would shoot myself in the head--my life would be unbearable. That would significantly shorten my lifespan, don't you think?

    So, given the above mentioned fact, I'll take my chances with some dubious study warning about opiates. Dying from opiod consumption in twenty years would only mean that I HAD those twenty extra years as a result of the pain killer in the first place. I'm sure I'm not alone in this--I don't think a lot of people could tolerate living in constant 8-10 pain on the 1-10 pain scale. When you suffer enough, you realize that death isn't the enemy--it's pain. Death would just stop the pain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe willie View Post
    According to a study published in BMJ (British Medical Journal), individuals who use opium for long periods of time, even in relatively low doses, are more than twice as likely to die from several major causes including cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory conditions.

    Results from the study, conducted in northern Iran, raise questions regarding the risks of long term prescription opioids for chronic pain treatment.

    Opium consumption is extremely common in Iran and approximately 20 million individuals worldwide use opium or its derivatives. This study is the first to measure the risks of mortality in opium users vs.non-users

    Prior investigations indicate that opium may play a role in coronary heart disease, throat cancer, bladder cancer and other conditions. However, researchers are unsure about the effects opium has on overall mortality, particularly for low-doses used over a long period.

    In order to examine the association between opium use and subsequent risk of death, the researches studied opium use among 50,045 adults, aged 40 to 75, living in Golestan Province in northern Iran, for an average of 5 years.

    8,487 (17%) study participants reported using opium. Those who used opium did so for an average duration of 12.7 years. During the study period 2,145 deaths were reported.


    I am in a significant amount of physical pain every day. The only thing that has ever helped me is an opiod based substance. If I had to live with my pain, with no help, I would shoot myself in the head--my life would be unbearable. That would significantly shorten my lifespan, don't you think?

    So, given the above mentioned fact, I'll take my chances with some dubious study warning about opiates. Dying from opiod consumption in twenty years would only mean that I HAD those twenty extra years as a result of the pain killer in the first place. I'm sure I'm not alone in this--I don't think a lot of people could tolerate living in constant 8-10 pain on the 1-10 pain scale. When you suffer enough, you realize that death isn't the enemy--it's pain. Death would just stop the pain.

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    I also take opiod based painkillers on a daily basis but, I am fortunate enough to have been given the operation which may just change the need for these meds which I do not like taking one bit. I think the article is probably quite close to the reality that any medication or substance that goes into the human body on a regular period over a long time, probably deos cause harm. Thanks for the information it helps confirm that I have made the right decision to take all the chances I can to get off this. It would be interesting if they had mentioned the methodology used in the opium users in the study as this could be comparitive to the results shown.
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    This is an interesting study. I would more inclined to study conducted in the USA or an EU nation. I would take into account that in that area one of the main ROA for opium is smoked. Last time I checked it can't be good to smoke a tar/latex like substance. Also raw opium has many more chemicals than what is synthesized out of it for opioid painkillers. Morphine is the main psychoactive, codeine is secondary. But many other chemicals exist. Morphine and codeine are also the worst of the painkillers used for chronic pain in terms of their having negative effects on the liver and kidneys.

    I would also question what is causing more harm, the narcotics themselves, or the effects that withdrawal has on the body.

    *This post was auto-merged. The following text was added 2 minutes after the last post:*

    Also realize the people who are using opium are also less likely to live healthy lives. They are probably not seeking medical attention when appropriate and living more sedentary lives that would contribute to things like the circulatory disease.
    Last edited by ryan424242; 06-16-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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