What Are Opioids?

Opioid Addiction Addiction outreach clinic

Opioids and Opioid/Opiate Addiction

What are opioids/opiates?

Opiate is the term used in pharmacology meaning substance derived from the compound found in the naturally occurring opium poppy plant.

Today Opiate and Opium are used almost interchangeably, but the term Opioid is designated for all substances, both naturally occurring and synthetically engineered, that bind to opioid receptors in the brain.

Opioids act on opioid receptors in the brain, allowing for pain relief.

They have become a much too common drug used non-medically for euphoric effects, which leads to abuse and addiction. Once addicted it is nearly impossible to get sober without professional help because of the body’s sustained dependence on the opioid drug and the terrible and unbearable withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Addiction in America

Opioid Addiction has become a massive epidemic in America, the worst in history. Over 40,000 people are dying every year from opioid overdose, lowering the national life expectancy. Up to 29% of patients prescribed opioids misuse them, while 12% develop and opioid disorder and 6% transition to heroin, as indicated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The crazy thing is that opioid overdoses increased 30% from July 2016 to September 2017, and nearly 80% of people who use heroin, first misused prescription opioids like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, potentially the root of the epidemic.

Types of Opioids

In today’s epidemic, opioid addiction can come from a wide range of drugs.

Prescription Opioids: a drug used to treat moderate to severe pain, often times being prescribed to surgical patients, post-injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. Recently becoming more accepted in use for the management of pain in other conditions, opioid addiction has been on the rise, leading to an epidemic in opioid addiction and overdose.

Prescription Pain Pills


a semi-synthetic pill used to relieve moderate to severe pain, often times combined with acetaminophen.

  • Brand Names: Percocet, Oxycontin, Roxicodone, Xtampza ER

another semi-synthetic pill prescribe for moderate to severe pain, very similar to Oxycodone

  • Brand Names: Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Lorcet

a drug prescribed for milder to moderate pain relief and cough suppression.

  • Brand Names: None

prescribed for moderate to severe pain, found naturally in a lot of plants and animals.

  • Brand Names: MS-Contin, Duramorph, Inumorph P/F, Arymo ER

for moderate to moderately severe pain, prescribed for acute and chronic pain, takes about an hour to go into effect.

  • Brand Names: Ultram, ConZip

used to treat pain and in maintenance therapy, to help taper addicts off of opioids. Effects last around 6 hours similar to morphine

  • Brand Names: Methadose, Diskets, Dolophine

pain reliever – similar to morphine, used in extended release for around the clock pain management.

  • Brand Names: Dilaudid, Exalgo ER

synthetic opioid thought to be safer than morphine in the treatment of specific pain-causing complications.

  • Brand Names: Demerol



Street Opioids


Heroin is the most common recreation opioid used for its euphoric effects. Tolerance can develop quickly and higher dosage is needed leading to dependence, abuse, and addiction.

  • Slang Terms: Smack, H, Tar, Chiba or Chiva, Junk, Brown Sugar, Junk, SKag, Mud, Dragon, Drop, White, China White, White Nurse, White Lady, White Horse, White Girl, White Boy, White Stuff, Boy, He, Black, Black Tar, Black Pearl, Black Stuff, Black Eagle, Brown, Brown Crystal, Brown Tape, Brown Rhine, Mexican Brown, Mexican Mud, Mexican Horse, Snow, Snowball, Scat, Sack, Skunk, Number 3, Number 4

Fentanyl is not only a prescription drug but also a synthetic opioid which is illegally produced for street use. Fentanyl can be 30-50 times stronger than heroin and 80-500 times more powerful than morphine, even the smallest dose can cause death, usually by respiratory failure.

  • Apache, Birria, Butter, China Girl, Chinese, Crazy, Crazy One, Dance Fever, Dragon, Dragon’s Breath, Facebook, Fent, Fenty, Fire, Friend, Girl, Goodfella, Great Bear, He-Man, Jackpot, King Ivory, Lollipop, Murder 8, Poison, Shoes, Tango & Cash, Toe Tag Dope

We’re here to help…

Whether treatment is for you, a family member or a friend, we are happy to speak with you about our outpatient drug treatment program, and how AOC can help patients with their opioid addiction recovery. Since 2007, AOC has helped thousands of patients on their path to recovery.

Please read more about AOC, or call us at 330-259-4849, or email to schedule an appointment – it’s fast, easy and confidential.

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