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What Are Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs that are often used as medicines which can be used to relax the body and relieve pain.

Where do opioids come from?


The opioid class of drugs originates in the opium poppy plant. Today, there are three common types of opioids: natural opioids, synthetic opioids, and semi-synthetic opioids. 

Are Opiates and Opioids the same thing?

While these two words are sometimes used interchangeably, they do mean different things.

Opiates: refers to only the natural occurring chemicals of opioids.

  • Example: Morphine

Opioids:  refers to the natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic opioids.

  • Example: Morphine (Natural) , Fentynal (Synthetic), Oxycodone (Semi-synthetic)

How do opioids affect the brain?

Opioids, like many medications can be taken safely and effectively, but whether being used responsibly or being used illicitly, opioids have a significant effect on the brain. Opioids activate what are known as Opioid Receptors on nerve cells. Because opioids act on these receptors, they result in a feeling of “dulled” senses and pain relief.

What leads to Opioid Dependence and Addiction?


As opioids are used over long periods of time, the body begins to build tolerance to the medication, which can result in the need for a higher dose to achieve the same result. As this continues, the body adjusts to this regular use of opioids in order to feel “normal,” this is known as dependence. 

Addiction often occurs after a person has developed both tolerance and dependence, and it can be very hard to overcome.

What prescription drugs are opioids?

  • Oxycodone

  • Hydrocodone - Acetaminophen

  • Hydrocodone bitartrate

  • Hydrocodone - Homatropine

  • Hydrocodone - Ibuprofen

  • Pseudoephedrine - Hydrocodone

  • Hydrocodone - Clorpheniramine

  • Hydrocodone - Cpm - Pseudoephed

  • Morphine

  • Morphine Naltrexone

  • Hydromorphone

  • Fentanyl Cirtrate

  • Fentanyl

  • Codeine Poli-Chlorphenir Poli

  • Acetaminophen with Codeine phosphate (Acetaminophen - Codeine)

  • Methadone

  • Methadone Hydrochloride

  • Morphine Sulfate

  • Oxymorphone Hydrochloride

  • Meperdine

  • Tramadol

  • Carfentanil

  • Buprenorphine

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