People Are Now Getting Their Opiate Fix By Taking A Crap Ton Of Anti-Diarrhea Medicine

America is in the throes of a prescription opioid epidemic, with over two million people addicted to some type of painkiller.

It’s gotten so bad that many normal people are switching to heroin to get their fix, which is leading to a rash of overdoses and deaths.

Not great.

And addicts are so desperate for a buzz, they’re trying some very weird and dangerous things. Like taking an uncomfortable amount of Immodium. From The Washington Post:

Long considered an innocuous drug — the Centers for Disease Control recommends it for travelers who find themselves abroad with the runs — loperamide has been swept up in America’s ongoing opioid epidemic.

That’s because the active ingredient in loperamide, which is in Immodium and other anti-diarrhea medicines, is an opiate. Humans have opiate receptors in their gut, and taking a shit ton (which I guess won’t make you shit a ton) can possibly activate those, resulting in a high. Or, at best, alleviate symptoms of withdrawal.

By 2013, reports of loperamide being used recreationally had circled the Web long enough for loperamide to pick up a nickname: “poor man’s methadone.”

A 2012 study of nearly 1,300 posts on online drug forums determined that people were dosing themselves with 70 to 100 milligrams of loperamide. The maximum recommended dose for diarrhea relief is 16 milligrams a day. As [William Eggleston, an author of a case study in the Annals of Medicine] put it: “People looking for either self-treatment of withdrawal symptoms or euphoria are overdosing on loperamide with sometimes deadly consequences.”

Good fucking lord. You’d be blocked up for months just to cause a buzz. But people are doing it.

“Loperamide’s accessibility, low cost, over-the-counter legal status and lack of social stigma all contribute to its potential for abuse,” [Eggleston] said in a news release. Timed with their report, Eggleston and his colleagues released a searing statement against loperamide abuse on Tuesday, calling it “dumb and dangerous.”

Yea, you are telling me.

Don’t try this.

[Via The Washington Post]