Opiates and opioids are not the same thing, although many people use the terms interchangeably. Opiates are naturally occurring alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant. The four major biologically active opiates found in opium include morphine, codeine, thebaine and papaverine. Semi-synthetic opioids derived from active opiates include oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone, and all drugs synthesized from them. These include OxyContin and Vicodin.
Common Side Effects Associated With Opiates and Opioids
Opiates and their semi-synthetic counterparts are often used in pain management and unfortunately, are sometimes used recreationally for the euphoria they can cause. These drugs may also be used in medicine to suppress a cough and diarrhea. Opiates and opioids have an effect that often results in constipation, which is uncomfortable but can be treated.
Other side effects can include pinpoint pupils, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, difficult breathing and sedation. Opiates and opioids have a depressant effect on the central nervous system so other substances that have this effect shouldn't be taken at the same time.
Dependency, Addiction and Accidental Deaths Are Possible Problems
Opiates and opioids can cause addiction and should always be taken as directed. Misusing these drugs in any way can lead to a host of problems including dependency, addiction and overdose. Opiate and opioid withdrawals can be particularly painful and hard to get through without the proper help.
Most people can take opiates and opioids safely if guidelines for safe use are followed closely. These medications should always be taken under the direction of a doctor. Sadly, many people abuse opiates and opioids in an effort to get high. This is highly dangerous and these drugs are attributed to many accidental deaths each year.
There is help for opiate addiction and opioid addiction. Treatment programs offer numerous therapies that can safely help patients detox and get on with a meaningful life that is full of health and promise.