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If you have ever seen The Wizard of Oz then youve seen the poppy plant This plant is the source of a group of drugs called opiates The Latin name for this poppy Papaver Somniferum literally means the poppy that makes you sleepy This class of drugs has many legitimate medical uses but it is often abused Many people find the effects of the opiate narcotics very desirable and it for this reason that the opiates are often abused Opiates are made from opium a white liquid in the poppy plant If you have ever heard of heroin morphine or codeine you should know that they all are all derived from opium There are alsoOpiates produce a quick intense feeling of pleasure followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness But they can also become an addiction If someone uses opiates again and again his or her brain is likely to become dependent on them Nerve Cells Experience Addiction Withdrawal What happens to make a person and his or her brain become addicted to an opiate Long term opiate use changes the way nerve cells in the brain work These cells grow so used to having the opiate around that they actually need it to work normally If opiates are taken away from dependent nerve cells many cells become overactive Eventually these cells will work normally again but in the meantime they cause a wide range of symptoms in the brain and body These are known as withdrawal symptoms Have you ever had the flu You probably experienced symptoms such as aching fever sweating shaking or chills These are similar to withdrawal symptoms but withdrawal symptoms are much worse Yuck How Nerve Cells Respond to Opiates Within the limbic system brainstem and spinal cord there are places on certain nerve cells that recognize opiates When stimulated by opiates these sites -- called opiate receptors --
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