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Image retrieved from on September 29th, 2013.

Opium withdrawal hurts, but the pain will end, usually within three to five days. That's how long the body needs to get shocked back into producing the chemicals replaced with constant opium use. Those are indeed hard days for the kicking addict but it is no worse than a nasty case of the flu. And like the flu, once the pain goes, it's over. The user is returned essentially to normal and feels no more physical craving for the drug.

This is even true of heroin, as William Burroughs admits in his novel "Junkie". Burroughs says that once a (heroin) junkie has kicked, it is easy to stay away from the junk. So it is with opium, from which heroin is derived.

"Relapse" is another phenomenon loaded with social connotations. For many people life is simply better with opium than without it - that they should seek it is hardly surprising. Addiction to caffeine, for instance, has all the same features of opium addiction. Dependence develops, withdrawal hurts and then you get used to life without coffee. Some people decided to go back to drinking coffee, some just abstain for a while and go back, but the lack of coffee rarely preys on their minds so much they cannot stay away.

It is also difficult to become physically dependent on opium in the first place. Before the body becomes truly dependent on opium (so that abstinence produces withdrawal symptoms) a user must take opium on a daily basis for at least a couple of months. it takes this long for the body to "learn" to stop producing its own opiate chemicals and become dependent on an outside source.

Excerpt from pages 4-5 of Opium for the masses by Jim Hogshire

Opium, poppy, addiction, withdrawal,