Heroin addicts are increasingly turning to Imodium, an over the counter remedy for diarrhea. That’s because it contains an opioid known as loperamide. And Imodium, just like fentanyl and other opioids, is killing addicts.
What exactly is an opioid?
An opioid is a synthetic opium similar chemically to fentanyl or W-18, but considerably less potent. Synthetic opiates mimic the effects of heroin.
Why would the maker of an anti-diarrheal want to use an opioid?
Have you ever heard of OIC, “Opioid Induced Constipation”? Heroin and its base ingredient, opium, alter the timing of digestion so that the small intestines have more time to absorb fluids and nutrients from the foods you eat. This added retention time causes constipation which is the exact opposite of diarrhea. Thus, it is an effective remedy for diarrhea, as well as some other colon and/or stomach problems.
Of course the explanation of why Imodium might choose an opioid instead of other possible ingredients assumes that there exists no greed factor on the part of the manufacturer to produce an addictive product
Anything containing an opioid will be misused by the addict
When warning you about Victoria’s tent city I told you of the almost endless creativity of addicts to use anything and everything to further their habits.
Imodium, as do any over the counter drugs, warns the consumer not to overdose, but that is more of an advertisement than it is a warning when opioids are involved.
The danger of Imodium and its generic counterparts
Imodium/loperamide can cause the heart to suddenly stop beating resulting in instant death. One might take it multiple times with no effect, but then…
There are many ways to ingest this product. But a popular method is to take a hundred or more pills and make a smoothie. While it is not their drug of choice, heroin addicts turn to it when they are broke, suffering, or about to suffer, withdrawal.
What the pharmacies and drug stores need to do
Any and all forms of over the counter drugs that contain opioids or other addictive substances need to be placed behind locked displays. You should also know that this stuff is not safe for young children, in any dose.
What Health Canada needs to do
Health Canada needs to develop a simple symbol that warns consumers that a particular product is addictive and/or contains an addictive ingredient.
WHEN WILL THE BIG PHARMACEUTICAL
COMPANIES STOP MAKING
OPIOID BASED DRUGS?
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