Colorado Opioid Addiction Treatment Rehab
Opiates and opioids are narcotics used to treat clients with mild to severe pain. The substances activate the central nervous system’s receptors to create feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, substances that give users feelings of relaxation and calmness while relieving pain. Due to these effects, opiates have a high rate of abuse that may lead to addiction. According to a study conducted by Carlson RG, between 8 and 12 percent of patients prescribed opiates will develop an use disorder.
Even though both substances have the similar effects, there is a slight difference between the two. Opiates such as codeine and morphine are naturally derived from opium, while opioids are synthetic or partially synthetic substances that people create to mimic the effect of opium.
Regardless of their origin, the abuse of opiates has become a public health crisis that affects millions of Americans, a crisis that killed more than 42,000 Americans in 2016 alone. Even when they don’t kill, opiates and opioids are dangerous. According to the U.S. Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 80 percent of people who use heroin misused prescription opioids or opiates first.
Types of Opiates
Depending on the effect opioids have on the brain, they can be classified as antagonists and agonists. Antagonists such as clonidine and buprenorphine are used to help with the detoxification process because if they attach themselves to brain receptors, they don’t trigger them.
Agonists such as morphine and fentanyl are used in medical settings. They attach themselves to and trigger specific receptors in the brain to relieve pain.
Common opiate agonists may be found in the list below.
- Codeine: Codeine is a primary ingredient for some cough syrups and is also used as a pain reliever. Although it is not as potent as morphine, it may also be habit-forming. The substance binds to opioid receptors in the brain producing a sensation of a high.
- Darvocet/Darvon: Darvocet was a narcotic pain reliever that was pulled off of the market in 2010 because it contained the active ingredient propoxyphene, a drug that may cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythms.
- Demerol: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings against Demerol (meperidine) because of its addictive properties. People should take this medicine only with a prescription and only for a short period. Prolonged use can be dangerous. It is listed on schedule II of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances.
- Dilaudid: This drug with the generic name of hydromorphone is used by people with a tolerance to opioid painkillers. It is also extremely addictive. Overdose may lead to respiratory depression. This drug is highly regulated and should never be used without a doctor’s prescription.
- Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a very potent drug that is fifty times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. In 2017, fentanyl was responsible for about 30,000 deaths out of the total 72,000 drug-related deaths that year.
- Hydrocodone: This drug is classified as a narcotic analgesic. It blocks receptors to the central nervous system (CNS) and thus helps manage pain. It may also create physical and mental dependence in cases of prolonged use. Sometimes, people use and abuse medications that contain combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, which may be fatal to the liver.
- Methadone: Methadone traces its origins to World War II when it was introduced by German doctors. People use it for pain management and to manage recoveries. Its addictive properties also mean that other people abuse it. While some consider methadone a safer drug compared to the other drugs on this list, users and doctors still need to take precautions.
- Morphine: This is an potent painkiller, so people should be careful about following their doctors’ prescriptions for dosage and frequency. Morphine is used to treat extreme pain from injuries and from illnesses such as cancer. It blocks signals between the brain and the nerves.
- Oxycodone: This is an opioid analgesic that controls pain. Oxycodone may be used for prolonged periods if people are supervised by their doctors. Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and OxyContin are common brand names for this drug.