Opioid addiction is a topic that frequently comes up online and in the news. It’s an epidemic that has countless people in its grasp and leads to a variety of issues within communities. If your loved one is dealing with this type of addiction, or you’re worried that they are, you may hear opiates come up in this conversation as well. The difference between opiates and opioids is an important one to know when you’re working on getting your loved one the addiction treatment help they need. NC Wellness Center – High Point can guide you through understanding the difference between opiates and opioids. Then, you can explore the various forms of addiction treatment we offer, which includes medication-assisted treatment.
What are Opiates?
Opiates refer to narcotic pain medication that is formed from natural ingredients. Opiates come from the poppy plant, which has been used throughout human history as a highly effective pain medication. The historic form is called opium and it had a wide reach throughout the globe. While it served as one of a limited number of painkillers available during these times, addiction was a problem even then.
More recent versions of opiates are codeine and morphine. While these drugs may have inactive ingredients that are not naturally formed, the active ingredient centers around the molecules from the poppy. These prescription medications are frequently given to help with pain after surgeries and other invasive procedures, to relieve acute pain, and as a treatment method for chronic pain. Opiates are highly addictive and people may fall into a trap where they get hooked on these medications due to long-lasting pain.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are simply the synthetic version of opiates. The molecules in the active ingredients are created in a lab and may be combined with natural ingredients. They function in essentially the same manner as opiates do, and don’t depend on growing a plant to produce it. Several prescription medications that use opioids include hydrocodone and fentanyl.
Illegal Opiates and Opioids
Another drug that comes up in this conversation is heroin, as it’s the illegal substance that’s most well-known. It falls under the opioid category in its pure form, as it uses synthetic ingredients in its formula. However, less pure versions may be cut with other opioids and opiates. The difference between opiates and opioids is less clear in this case.
While all types of opioid addiction are dangerous, being hooked on heroin or another illegal version of these drugs can lead to many issues. They may not know whether their heroin has other substances combined with it, which can lead to overdoses and other lasting health problems. It doesn’t take long for the body to become dependent on opioids. In some cases, using heroin once can lead to uncontrollable cravings.
Heroin is a Schedule I illegal drug, so there are major consequences associated with using it. Some of these may be:
- Getting arrested
- Becoming involved in drug dealing
- Stealing money
- Getting infectious diseases due to needle sharing
Learn More About the Difference Between Opiates and Opioids
Colloquially, people use the terms on an interchangeable basis. Outside of academic and medical professional discussions, it’s not particularly important to know exactly whether your loved one is on an opiate or an opioid. In most cases, opioid is the blanket term used to cover both drug categories.
A professional opioid treatment center will know what you mean when you reach out to them and be able to provide the much-needed help and support for your loved one. Contact NC Wellness Center – High Point at 833.455.2570 to find out more about our rehab options and how we can help your loved one get back on track. We can also provide more information about the difference between opiates and opioids.