Opiates

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Opiates are drugs derived from the poppy. On a street level, this means drugs such as opium and heroin, neither of which should be combined with body modifications. However, opiates also include drugs such as codeine and morphine (which is what this entry is about), which are commonly used to control pain.

These drugs have a sedative effect and will slow reflexes and speech, and can make controlling breathing more difficult (increasing pain in some cases). Some people also experience nausea and difficulty reasoning on these drugs. One reader writes,

"Codeine was so not a cool idea for a tattoo, first off it did not help with the pain, which was the reason I took it. All it did was make me itch really bad and I could not sit still for the tattoo.
The same itching can be said for morphine, except you don't really fidget or move around because it makes you relaxed and calm. But I noticed the hard part there was morphine affects your breathing patterns and it is a lot harder to maintain a normal breathing pattern. Other people I have known who have taken morphine also commented on this and say it is almost like having an anxiety attack and you cant move. So a tattoo can actually be stressful."

That said, others have had more positive experiences, writing,

"I was taking prescription codeine cough syrup when I had the second session of my foot tattoo done. I had a lot of muscle twitching during my first sitting, but hardly any at all when on codeine. My artist even mentioned how much better I was. I hadn't even thought about the codeine until he said that. When I told him, he said I should take codeine whenever getting tattooed. I can't say it hurt less really, I just didn't care as much."

...and...

"I've been tattooed more than once while under the influence of opiates (hydrocodone, morphine, etc) and have had no problems. Obviously it makes the pain more tolerable if it's in a painful area, and helped me stay calm (sometimes while getting tattooed 'sober' I have a hard time keeping my body from moving involuntarily)."

If you are going to take drugs like this for body modification, please consider talking to your doctor about it first, and at a minimum let the artist working on you know. It is essential that you keep them fully informed; they need to know as much as possible in order to deal safely with potential complications.

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