Opiates vs. Opioids – Which is Which? Opioids and Opiates
are different things, even though some organizations use the terms interchangeably. Opiates are substances derived directly from the opium poppy. Among the most well-known opiates are morphine, codeine, and opium, the grandfather of all of these drugs. In the past, these drugs were used primarily as painkillers or for recreational use. However, with time, they were adapted to a new function – making synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids can be either semi-synthetic or fully synthetic. Fully synthetic opioids are made in labs and don’t use naturally occurring opiates as a base. Fentanyl, Tramadol, and Methadone are the most commonly known synthetic opioids, but there are a lot more of them in circulation, not all of them strictly legal. Semi-synthetic opioids derive their properties from an opiate which is used as the basis of the compound. Heroin, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone are typical examples of semi-synthetic opioids. Both synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids were created to mimic the natural effects of opiates.
They have shown some level of success in duplicating the behavior of their natural counterparts. Unfortunately, because demand is so high for these drugs, they usually find themselves being manufactured and distributed illegally. Both opiates and opioids function by targeting specific receptor sites in the human brain. When someone takes these drugs, they bind to those sites and create a euphoric feeling. Over time, the brain starts rewiring itself to make the body dependent on the drug. In terms of an opiate vs opioid, the effects on the brain are very similar. The more the person uses the drug, the more tolerant they become, meaning they need more of the substance to get the same euphoria they had in the past. At this point, the brain requires the drug for the person to function normally. Some opioids don’t produce a euphoric effect when they attach to these sites, and they’re used in treating opioid addiction. Methadone is one of the best examples, but even though it doesn’t produce the euphoric effects, people may still become addicted to the feeling the drug creates. Because of this side-effect, methadone is a strictly controlled substance, administered only in treatment clinics.
Prescription Use vs. Illicit Usage
The CDC notes that the volume of drug-related deaths has increased by 5% between 2018 and 2019 and quadrupled since 1999. Many of these deaths were due primarily to misuse of the drug. While opiates and opioids are effective painkillers, they are also highly addictive substances. Today, thanks to the wonders of modern chemistry, most individuals can scrounge up the things they need to make an opioid with makeshift apparatus. Because it’s so easy to create synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids, there is a much greater level of overdoses since these drugs are not controlled or regulated by any pharmaceutical board. Since research pointed the finger at opioids for being addictive, doctors have started prescribing them a lot less. Even individuals who were previously prescribed the painkillers were denied future prescriptions. This approach, combined with the ease of making them in illicit labs, made it the ideal illegal drug for many suppliers. While the volume of opioid prescriptions has gone down over the years, deaths due to overdoses have gone up, suggesting that the illicit trade is far more significant and increasing to this very day.
Is Heroin an Opiate or an Opioid?
One of the most common illicit drugs that an individual may come across is heroin. Heroin uses morphine as its basis, an opiate. It’s usually a white or brown powder and may also be found in a black, sticky form called tar. Heroin is often more effective at getting to the brain’s opiate receptors than its base drug, morphine. Because of its familiar presence on the streets, heroin tends to be one of the first opioids people use. Increasingly, evidence suggests that many individuals who use heroin started by using painkillers that contain synthetic opioids. Law enforcement has spent a lot of resources in trying to control heroin, but instead of helping to overcome the opioid epidemic their efforts may have had a negative impact. Ideally, drug enforcement officials would like to reduce the supply of heroin in the market, leading to a spike in its price. If it becomes too expensive, it could be less desirable for the people who typically use it. When considering the widespread prevalence of an opiate vs opioid, this can explain some of the rise in popularity of opioids like Fentanyl Tragically, the opposite effect has occurred, and widespread usage has continued. On top of this, many of the initiatives by law enforcement to target heroin has led to regular opioid users pooling resources. The result is that many of these opioid users also fall victim to diseases transmitted by sharing needles. In developed countries, heroin users display a lower life expectancy than others in the same societies. They are more prone to death from violence, suicide, and drug-related issues (for example, overdoses). Shared needles also carry the looming threat of transmitting HIV to others. Hepatitis B and C are also transmissible through shared needles. Illicit use of drugs like heroin contributes significantly to lost human potential, broken families, and heartbreak. Luckily, rehabilitation centers offer a path to recovery that anyone can follow.
Dependence and Addiction Rates
Dependence, as we mentioned before, happens when a person starts relying on the drug to function normally. There is a distinct difference between being dependent on a substance and being addicted to it, however. Addiction is a brain disease that relies on dependence. When someone is addicted, they may make poor choices to get access to a substance they are dependent upon. When it comes to an opiate vs opioid, both can easily lead to dependence in a short amount of time. Opiates and opioids are legitimate painkillers, but their use may be a precursor to using other illicit drugs such as heroin. With time, the body becomes tolerant to these drugs, and the chances of an overdose increase. If this happens, the chances of heart or respiratory failure skyrocket. If either of these occurs, death becomes much more likely. Using heroin and other illicit substances follow from using opioid or opiate painkillers in many cases. In many cases, heroin can be a lot easier to obtain than a prescription for legitimately obtained pain medications, making it a more attractive choice for dependent persons. To avoid all of this, you need a Drug Rehab Center in California
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