Many people wonder what the difference is in an opiate vs opioid. Opiates are drugs that naturally occur in the opium plant while opioids are synthetic versions of natural chemicals in the opium plant. The terms are interchangeable when referencing drugs containing synthetic or natural opium chemicals.
As previously mentioned, opiates are naturally occurring chemicals from the opium plant. Another term used is opium alkaloid. There are over 20 different opiates in opium, but six specific opiates appear in the largest amounts. Of those six, four are useful for the medical industry. These four are morphine, codeine, thebaine, and papaverine. Codeine and morphine generally get the most recognition by the average person as opiates. Both have been around for centuries and are still regularly prescribed today. Thebaine typically isn’t used in its original state but instead is useful for conversion into other medicines. Oxycodone and hydrocodone are examples of medicines which scientists derive from thebaine.
Opioids come in both semi-synthetic and synthetic forms. For example, heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are all semi-synthetic opioids. They are created from natural, opium-derived chemicals in a lab. Creation of heroin occurs through boiling acetic anhydride and morphine together. On the other hand, synthetic opioids copy the effects of opiates but do not come from any element of the opium plant. Some examples of synthetic opioids include methadone, fentanyl, and meperidine.
Though both opioids and opiates have plenty of addiction potential, fully synthetic opioids have stronger effects on the body vs. semi-synthetics. For example, methadone and fentanyl have been used to help patients get off of opiates or semi-synthetic opioids. However, both drugs are extremely powerful and addictive in their own right. Fentanyl, for example, is one of the strongest painkillers. It is the riskiest opioid to abuse as it has a high potential for fatal overdose. The National Vital Statistics System reports that almost half of all overdose by opioid deaths in 2016 were from fentanyl.
Addiction to either opiates or opioids is very difficult to deal with by yourself. Finding help at an opiate addiction treatment program Memphis offers is the best way to stay safe and get free of the drug. At Memphis Recovery Centers, we offer strongly individualized treatment with step down to PHP and then IOP for all programs. We understand that every case of addiction is different, and that’s why our plans are fully customized to the individual. We offer a variety of treatments, including the following:
To get help with understanding opiate vs opioid and to keep addiction from controlling your life, reach out to us today at 866-304-8254. We can help put you on the road to recovery and addiction-free life.