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Opiates come in many forms. There are many substances that can be classified as an “opiate” or an “opioid”. Most of them have medical uses—except heroin, which is enjoyed by recreational users only.

But all opiates can be described a certain way. Most of them are powerful pain relievers that are used to alleviate conditions ranging from moderate to severe. They help patients who are suffering from surgical pain, cancer pain, and traumatic pain. They are also prescribed occasionally for severe cases of toothache.

All of these opiates are also habit-forming. That means even if you are using them at pharmaceutical doses, they can cause you to get hooked. It is very easy to get addicted to these substances, and so it is important to take utmost care when taking this type of drug.

But what are opiates exactly? And what substances are considered as such? We will answer these two questions through this article, and provide a bit more information regarding this type of medicine.

What are Opiates?

As we previously mentioned, opiates are powerful pain relievers. But what truly unifies these drugs is the fact that they are all derived from the opium poppy plant. They are substances that act on opioid receptors in order to produce relaxing effects.

Unfortunately, many people also use these drugs beyond their medical uses. Some people abuse this drug, taking it recreationally and getting addicted in the process.

This may lead to a number of health problems, both physical and psychological. There are both short term and long term adverse effects to be aware of when someone is actively abusing the drug. These drugs may easily cause a person to develop dependence, particularly when taken in large doses.

Prescription opiates often come in tablet or capsule form. Recreational users ingest the drug orally, but sometimes it is snorted or injected directly into the vein for more intense effects.

Opiates are sometimes referred to as “narcotics”.

It’s worth noting that opioids and opiates are not exactly the same thing, although they are frequently used interchangeably. Opiates are drugs derived from the opium plant, and so are opioids, but the latter also includes synthetic drugs made with opium as an ingredient.

Common Examples of Opiates

Opioids include synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs such as hydrocodone, Fentanyl, and oxycodone. Antagonist drugs like naloxone are also included in this classification.

The term opiates can cover a huge variety of drugs ranging from codeine to heroin. The following are common examples of opiates: morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Fentanyl, codeine, heroin, and opium.

Nowadays, opioids are often used to refer to prescription drugs.

Opiate addiction is a serious problem in the United States because of how easy it is to obtain the drugs.

Opiates: Other Medical Uses

Although they are primarily used for pain relief, opiates have other medical uses. They may help suppress cough, they may help stop diarrhea, and some opiates even help treat addiction.

In some cases of opioid overdose, opiates may be used to reverse its effects. They also help treat constipation that was induced by opioids.

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There are even extremely powerful opiates that are approved only for the use of veterinarians. These ones are used for immobilizing large animals.

Although it comes in many different forms, the warning stays the same: do not abuse this type of drug, for they may cause addiction, dependence, and tolerance. Once dependence sets in, it may be difficult to quit using the drug without medical intervention. It is better to be safe, and use these helpful drugs responsibly.

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