Effects

There is no such thing as a safe level of drug use. Substance use carries risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any drug. The effect of opiates will vary depending on:

  • A person’s body weight
  • General state of health
  • Regular use of substance
  • If taken in combination with other drugs including prescription medication
  • The amount that is consumed
  • Quality of the drug (this varies from batch to batch for most illicit drugs)

Safety

If you're going to use any form of drug, go about it safely. You make the choices that determine what substances you put into your body. Whatever your choice, it's important to remember that being safe and responsible (that's with yourself and with others) is the golden rule. We've got some helpful tips to consider. We've got some helpful tips to consider.

  • Set limits for yourself, and stick to them
  • Try to be aware of exactly what you are taking and how much 

Safer Injecting

When injecting, it’s important to always use a clean fit. Avoid sharing injecting equipment if possible. Blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV can be transmitted by sharing your rigs. Be aware of where blood may end up in the process of injecting. It can remain on or in needles but it can also find its way onto the back of your hand or the top of the table, so don’t assume that just because you can’t see it that it's not there. Wash your hands and clean the area where you've prepped to inject. Injecting drug use and the sharing of equipment may increase your risk of:

  • Vein damage and permanent scarring
  • Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Tetanus and HIV transmission
  • Deep vein thrombosis and clots – this may result in the loss of limbs, damage to organs, stroke and possibly even death

Mixing with Other Drugs

The effect of opiates in combination with other drugs including over-the-counter or prescribed medication is unpredictable. Here are some of the known interactions between this class of drug and other substances including prescription medications:

Living with HIV

Let's be frank, recreational drug use (whether it's legal or not) is likely to interact or even interfere with the treatment regime of a person living with HIV. Changes in the concentration of ARV's is a result of two or more drugs interacting. These changes in concentration are known to be the very thing which ultimatley leads to treatment failure and toxicity.  

Interactions with HIV Medications

If you're HIV+ and a recreational user, check in regularly with your GP or an experienced HIV medical practitioner. Know your limits, know your body and be aware of the impact that other substances may have on your treatment.

Taking Hormones

For trans, gender diverse or intersex people who are taking some form of hormone therapy, it's important to be aware and informed of how your body processes these treatments.

Currently, there is limited information into the interactions and cross interactions of hormone therapy and recreational drug use but that doesn't mean we'll stop asking for it. Whether your hormones are prescribed by a doctor or you've sourced them yourself from the internet, make it a priority to get regular health checks. Sometimes, a change in dosage or preparation of hormones is needed and a qualified medical practitioner is the person best placed to advise you of this.

If you're not comfortable talking about your gender, gender identity or bodily difference with your doctor, get in touch and we can make recommendations for a service that is best placed to support your needs.

Interactions with Hormones

Chronic use of opiates for those folk on hormone therapy, may result in significant change to endocrine function. It is well-documented that sustained, daily use of opiates results in the decreased production of gonad and adrenal androgens, a symptom of opioid-induced endocrinopathy. If you're taking hormones and using opiates, enusre that you have levels checked regularly, along with regular testing to monitor for liver toxicity and abnormal blood fat levels.

The effects of benzodiazepines such as Valium®, Rohypnol, Serepax, Normison®, etc. are increased when people take oestrogen hormones. It is important to note that all benzodiazepines have an addictive central nervous system effect when taken with other sedative drugs.

Treatment

Feeling like you need a hand wrangling that opiate use of yours? If you're expperiencing the negative impact of this such as diminished health, strained relationships with family and friends or an inability to focus on work or study - it's time to TouchBase with somebody who can help.

There are a number of treatment options and support services available for you, for your family or friends if they need it. Whatever your recovery goals are, if it is to control, reduce or stop, reach out for some support.

Counselling & Support

Counselling can be provided individually or in a group situation, and is available to people who use alcohol or other drugs, and to their family members or support people. A support service can offer counselling or direct you to a service appropriate for you. Speak to your doctor, alcohol and other drugs treatment service or local community health service.

Find help and support services.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programs take a long term approach to treatment to help you achieve your goals with your alcohol or other drug use. Residential withdrawal is also available from some treatment services.

Find out more about withdrawal.

Complementary therapies

These include treatments such as massage and relaxation therapies, which can be useful to help you manage withdrawal symptoms. 

Peer support 

These programs are provided for people who use alcohol and other drugs, and their family members or support person/s. 

Important notice

Please note: The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way. Individuals wanting medical advice about Opiates should consult a health professional.