You’ve probably heard the terms “opioids” and “opiates” a lot in the media. The country is in the middle of a drug epidemic, and these drugs are at the center. While you might think that these terms refer to the same drugs, they’re slightly different. Knowing the differences between opioids vs opiates can help you better understand these addictive drugs.
The Differences: Opioids vs Opiates
All opiates are opioids, but not all opioids are opiates. This description might sound confusing, so let’s take an in-depth look.
Opioids are human-made drugs. Some of them are semi-synthetic, which means that they contain human-made ingredients and parts of the opium plant. Others are synthetic, which means that they only contain human-made ingredients.
Heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone are examples of semi-synthetic opioids. Fentanyl, meperidine, methadone, and tramadol are examples of synthetic opioids.
Drug makers can engineer synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids in ways that they can’t manipulate opiates. For instance, they can design a drug to have stronger sedative or pain-relieving effects. They can make it work for more extended periods as well.
On the other hand, opiates are a group of opioids that only contain parts of the opium plant. They don’t have human-made ingredients in them. Codeine, morphine, opium, papaverine, and thebaine are examples.
The Technical Difference
All opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain and body. There are four main types of opioid receptors, and they have slightly different functions. Since opiates and opioids attach to different ones, they affect the production of various chemicals in the body. These chemicals include dynorphins, endorphins, endorphins, and enkephalins.
Your body can adapt to depend on the effects of the drugs after short- or long-term use. When addiction develops, you need substance abuse treatment to recover.
Why People Mix Up the Terms
Some health care professionals use the terms according to their definitions, but others don’t. Even when they acknowledge the differences, they don’t think that it matters to use the terms precisely.
The most likely reason is that opiates and opioids have the same medical use, which is to treat pain. Both drugs also have a high risk for abuse and addiction because they produce euphoria in high doses. They slow your breathing as well because they suppress your central nervous system.
In most cases, experts simply refer to opioids, which is the most accurate since all opiates are opioids. However, some people might also use the word “narcotics.” The reason is that the Drug Enforcement Administration used to refer to all mind-altering drugs as narcotics. Now the term solely refers to opiates and opioids.
Opiate and Opioid Treatment Is Available
If you have a problem with opioids or opiates, Woodlands Recovery Centers can help. We offer several addiction treatment programs, including:
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Opiate addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment
- Medical detox program
- Inpatient rehab
- Intensive outpatient program
Don’t wait any longer to address your opiate or opioid use problem. Seek treatment at a reliable and safe rehab center. Reach out to us at 855-752-3377 to learn more about opioids vs opiates.