With the national opioid crisis showing no signs of easing up, education and awareness about opioids vs opiates is more prevalent than ever. According to a September US News & World Report article, the demographic at highest risk for an opioid overdose is white Americans.
The drastic upsurge in opioid overdoses is not only killing some 115 people per day, but it’s also causing a continuous decline in life expectancy for Americans, a decrease in 0.3 years since 2014, according to the article.
While named “opioid crisis,” opioid is often used as a reference for both opioids and opiates. So, what’s the difference between opiates vs opioids?
Opiates vs Opioids
The terms opioid and opiate are often conflated. Opioid is a term generally used to refer to both opioids and opiates. While these two classifications of drugs refer to substances that interact with the body in the same way, there are differences.
The main difference between the two is that an opiate is natural, and an opioid is synthetic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both types of drugs stimulate the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and the neurotransmitter system of the brain. This interaction produces analgesic effects, blocking and alleviating symptoms of pain.
The Body’s Opioid System
The body has a natural opioid system that works to regulate pain. When an opioid or opiate is ingested, they attach themselves to these receptors and cause pain to be muted. In higher doses, the effect can take on a euphoric, dreamlike quality.
Opioids and opiates activate the release of endorphins, neurotransmitter chemicals that produce feelings of pleasure. These chemicals are also highly addictive. After the initial rush, a person will continue to use in order to produce the first effect. The more they use, the more they have to use, but the high never comes close to that first time—a term known as “chasing the dragon.”
In technical terms of drug classification, an opioid is a manufactured compound resembling opium in addictive properties and/or physiological effects. Opioid agonist drugs are synthetic or semi-synthetic and depending on how the drug is synthesized, the effect of an opioid can alter to achieve different effects.
Common opioids include:
When it comes to opiates vs opioids, an opiate is a substance containing opium that is derived from the poppy plant. Common opiates include heroin and morphine.
A less direct way that opioids and opiates differ is through general perception. Because opiates are mostly illegal substances like heroin, people tend to perceive these drugs as more dangerous and addictive. Synthetic versions, since they are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, have been historically considered as safe, which makes them, if anything, more dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opioid fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and heroin.
Opioid addiction is a desperate condition that is killing masses of people nationwide. Finding treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself or a loved one in order to prevent life-threatening consequences.
In addition to offering opioid addiction treatment, First Step Center of sunny Arizona also specializes in dual diagnosis treatment and trauma-informed care. With a small clientele base, First Step Center’s all-male residential treatment facility is designed to create custom treatment plans for each client in order to meet individual needs.
In order to offer a variety of recreational opportunities, First Step Center campus has:
- A putting green
- Frisbee golf
- Basketball and tennis courts
- A swimming pool
- A meditative walking path
In addition, upon therapist approval, First Step Center allows clients the opportunity to maintain a connection with the outside world. For men with high-profile positions, such as CEOs executives, or attorneys, preserving a level of presence in the corporate realm can be critical in order to be able to get needed treatment.
First Step Center also offers:
Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. No one needs to live with addiction. First Step Center’s staff is committed to the full recovery of its clients offering comprehensive treatment designed to treat the roots of addiction. To find out more about opiates vs opioids, don’t wait another minute. Call us now at 866.832.6398.