Opium is believed to be an effective painkiller. However, a recent study has found that long term consumption of the same could prove fatal as it could lead to death. A recent study conducted by the researchers of Tehran University of Medical Sciences has found that people on opium are at a greater risk of succumbing to death as compared to those who are affected with cancer.
It is for the very first time when devastating impact of opium consumption has been found. Previous studies have showed that people relying on opium are at the risk of developing mouth and throat cancer.
The findings of the recent study have been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). It is estimated that about 20 million people all over the world are using opium as a painkiller. The study was conducted over a period of five years. During the study, about 50,045 females and males were contacted.
The participants of the study majorly belonged to Golestan Province located in northern Iran. The participants aged between 40 to 75 years. About 17% of the participants said that they have been taking opium for past 12.7 years. During the study, about 2,145 deaths were reported.
While writing in the BMJ, the researchers noted, "Based on the overall adjusted hazard ratio for opium use of 1.86 (1.68 to 2.06), and assuming this represents a causal association, we calculate the fraction of deaths attributable to opium in this population as 14.9%".
The researchers have asked the authorities to establish a control over the consumption of opium. Variants of opium are also being prescribed to the patients with chronic pain. Further studies over the adverse outcomes of opium and its variants should also be carried out.