The brand name for meperidine or pethidine, Demoral is a narcotic analgesic or a fast-acting opioid drug. Like morphine and codeine, it is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Manufactured in tablet, syrup and liquid forms, Demerol is available in tables that are white, round and convex – with the 50mg tablet being scored – or by intravenous injection.
Demerol is popular among recreational users for its almost immediate effects, which are felt 10-15 minutes after injection. As the effects are felt for two to four hours, continued applications are necessary to maintain the high. The user will continue to become immune to the effects after continued use, requiring more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
When it is abused, Demoral is taken orally, injected or snorted. It can be obtained legally by an abuser through a doctor’s prescription, although fewer doctors are writing scripts for the drug due to its short-term effect. The drug can also be obtained illegally through falsifying scripts or through Internet purchasing options.
The repeated use of Demerol increases the likelihood of an overdose. The symptoms of overdose and/or abuse include:
- Bluish discoloration of the skin
- Cold, clammy skin
- Limp, weak muscles
- Low blood pressure
- Slow heartbeat
- Troubled or slowed breathing
- Extreme sleepiness
The withdrawal symptoms associated with the absence of Demerol are directly related to the amount and frequency of the drug use. Even for those taking the drug by doctor’s advice are advised not to stop taking the drug “cold turkey” as withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as four to five hours after the last dose and last seven to ten days. These symptoms can include severe anxiety, insomnia, profuse sweating, muscle spasms, shivering and tremors.
As a result of the potential of severe withdrawal symptoms from excessive Demerol use, long-term users and abusers should taper off the drug very slowly or enter into a detox center to receive 24/7 treatment. Abusers are especially strongly urged to take this route as a medically supervised setting is more conducive to handle the withdrawal symptoms.
Ongoing treatments include support of the patient and counseling to look at the psychological issues that may have led to the drub use and abuse in the first place. Ongoing attention to these issues is necessary to prevent relapse as the pull of Demerol is strong and the reward feeling produced by the drug is intense. Patients are often recommended to residential treatment until they are strong enough to resist on their own.