By Annette Rey
Opioid use and abuse is big in the news now. If you have a character in your story that is an opioid user, do you really know what the related terms are; what are the signs that you can see in a victim; what are the symptoms the victim experiences?
This site is helpful, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/
An opioid is any morphine-like synthetic narcotic or non-synthetic that produces the same effects as drugs derived from the opium poppy (opiates). The user experiences pain relief, sedation, constipation and respiratory depression.
Setting: Say your character wants to blunt reality and is experimenting with prescription medications. Perhaps he’s a teen and raids his friend’s parents’ bathroom medicine cabinet. You could write the scene in that setting or any other. You pick. The options are endless.
Other characters: An alert adult can see outward signs of this drug in the user. An opiate relaxes the central nervous system. Other characters may see the user acting sleepy with slurred speech. He would have enlarged pupils. He may do dangerous things like walk into a street without looking to avoid traffic. The reason is his brain activity is slowing down. He is not alert. You can imagine how your other characters would react to seeing these things. Or your other characters may be using, too. Then how does that change the scene’s activity?
Protagonist: How do you think she will act and react to this person’s drug-induced behavior?
You don’t have to go far to flesh out these people. The facts almost write the characters for you.
Excellent information is available at this site, http://www.deltamedcenter.com/addiction/opiates/signs-symptoms-effects
Don’t forget to add emotion to your story. Who is saddened by this? Do the parents grieve the condition of their child? What happens in the street when the police arrive on a person struck call? What happens inside the ambulance? What about the efforts of the hospital staff that try to save his life?
Lots of drama surrounds this subject. It’s a good one to write about.