Opiate vs. Opioid: What Is the Difference?

opiate vs opioid prescription bottles and pills

What is the difference between opiate vs. opioid? The term opiate refers to any drug that is extracted naturally from the poppy plant. Examples of opiates may include opium, morphine, or codeine. ‘Opioid’ is a broad term that refers to drugs synthesized from an opiate. Examples of opioids may include methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or heroin.

Opioids and opiates are derived from the same source, a poppy plant that originates in South America. Both substances can be used for both medicinal and recreational use. Both substances are addictive. Users often need professional help from a South Florida detox center, such as Summit Detox, to overcome an addiction. Let’s take a closer look at opiate vs. opioid and how they are similar and different.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are a type of drug that originates in South America. The drug is sourced and used for its medicinal benefits. However, opiates are also developed and sold recreationally. There is a wide range of opiates on the market today. When taken as prescribed or intended, they can reduce stress or anxiety and cause the user to feel relaxed.

More specifically, opiates bind to specific receptors in neurons throughout the brain. The receptors are typically responsible for creating energy in one form or another. A typical reaction from an opiate, however, can cause the brain and central nervous system to slow down. This creates a more relaxed feeling. Common opiates may include:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin

Derivatives of opiates may include Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (Percocet), or long-acting Oxycodone (Oxycontin). Treatment for opiate addiction typically begins with a program such as an oxycodone detox program.

What Are Opioids?

The main difference between opioids vs. opiates is that opioids are synthetic. In other words, they are developed artificially through a combination of opiates and other substances. Medical professionals often prescribe opioids to patients to relieve persistent or severe pain. A patient may also receive a temporary dose of opioids after major surgery.

Similar to opiates, opioids attach to proteins called opioid receptors. The opioid blocks the signal to or from the receptor. While the pain may continue, the brain doesn’t pick up on it. Therefore, the patient is relieved of the pain. Opioids are highly effective in reducing pain and making a patient feel better. However, they are also highly addictive due to the euphoric effects they produce in the brain.

Common opioids include:

  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Codeine

While both opiates and opioids are dangerous when abused, synthetic opioids can be even more dangerous because developers experiment with the combinations of opioids and other substances, and users often have no idea what ingredients are in the combinations. In worst-case scenarios, street dealers add highly dangerous substances to opioids, making them lethal enough to cause fatality in a single dosage.

Opiate vs. Opioid: Which Is Heroin?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether heroin is an opiate or an opioid. From a medical standpoint, heroin is a synthetic opioid because it is derived from a combination of natural and artificial substances. However, on the street, both dealers and users may view heroin as synthetic, natural, or semi-synthetic due to its compounds.

What is important to understand is that heroin is highly addictive and highly dangerous. Developers often add substances to heroin to give it more impact. These substances can increase the possibility of side effects that lead to health problems or fatality. Also, a person can become addicted to heroin after using it once.

Learn More About Opiate Addiction Today at Summit Detox

Opiate vs. opioid: do you know the difference? Learn more about opiate addiction at Summit Detox. We provide comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction. Whether you are addicted to heroin or prescription medication, we can help you get clean and stay clean. Contact Summit Detox at 866.341.0638 to find out more about our opiate detox program and how to get started today.

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