Opiate Addiction: Your Guide to Different Types of Opiates

Written By Alla Levin
March 23, 2020
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Opiate Addiction: Your Guide to Different Types of Opiates

Do you have an opiate addiction? First of all, seek help.

Before you head to the rehab, check out your guide to different types of opiates!

One American dies from a prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes.

Want to know an even more shocking statistic?

Most drug overdoses are from opiate misuse. 

It’s clear that opiate addiction in the United States is unprecedented.

However, more prevention efforts are being implemented.

One of those efforts is education.

Education about opiates and their dangers helps prevent opiate misuse and overdose.

Don’t know where opiates come?

Keep reading to find out more about the different types of opiates and the risks they pose.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are drugs that act in the nervous system and produce feelings of pain relief.

When taken in higher doses, they produce feelings of euphoria and pleasure.

Opiates are legally prescribed by a healthcare professional but they can also be obtained illegally. 

Opiates also change the chemistry in the brain and lead to tolerance.

This means that over time, the user will seek higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effect.

Long-term opiate use will lead to addiction.

It also leads to dependence which means that users continue to take it to prevent withdrawal symptoms. 

When people stop taking the drug, they experience withdrawal symptoms.

Some symptoms of opiate withdrawal include muscle cramping, insomnia, sweating, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. 

Addiction to opiates can be life-threatening. It increases the risk of overdose, which slows or stops breathing.

Both legal and illegal use of opiates carries the risk of overdosing — especially if it is combined with other drugs. 

What Are the Types of Opiates?

There are different types of opiates. One, in particular, is heroin — which is illegal.

Legal forms of opiates include prescription medications like hydrocodone or Vicodin.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of opiates:

Natural Opiates

These kinds of opiates are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants like opium poppy.

Natural opiates include morphine, codeine, and thebaine. 

Semi-Synthetic Opiates

Also known as manmade opiates, these kinds of opiates are made in labs using natural opiates.

Semi-synthetic opiates include hydromorphone, oxycodone, and heroin. 

Fully Synthetic Opiates

These types of opiates are completely manmade. Fully synthetic opiates include fentanyl, pethidine, methadone, tramadol, and dextropropoxyphene.

What Does It Mean to Misuse Opiates?

Opiates, if prescribed by a doctor, should be taken within the medical guidelines.

This means that it should be taken within a specific time frame and stopped once you can get relief from over the counter medicine. 

Recreational use of opiates qualifies as misuse. This carries the risk of forming an addiction and suffering an overdose.

If you or someone you know may have an addiction to opiates, please contact a professional.

Bottom Line

While opiates can be helpful in easing pain, it can be dangerous if taken in high doses.

The different types of opiates all have the potential to be habit-forming and addictive. 

For help with opiate addiction, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Also, share this blog post with anyone who could benefit from knowing about the dangers of opiate misuse.

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