Understanding Opioids and Opiates

More than likely, you have heard that we are facing an opioid crisis. Yet, you may still find yourself feeling a bit confused by the various terms and other information that is available regarding this type of drug and the crisis that surrounds it. One common question asked about opioids is what is the difference between an opioid and an opiate and how exactly do these drugs work?

Opioid Vs. Opiate

Simply put, an opioid is a drug that is cultivated from the poppy plant. Once the plant is harvested, its dried ruminates can be manufactured to make opium, morphine and heroin. Opioids derived from the poppy plant have been in used since 3400 BC.

Opiates, on the other hand, are a synthetic version of opioids. As such, these drugs are produced in a laboratory and include prescription drugs such as OxyContin. While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, there technically is a difference between the two.

How Do Opioids and Opiates Work?

Opioids and opiates are intended to be used to help alleviate pain. When your body experiences pain, those pain signals travel through your nervous system’s sensory receptors. The signals pass through the A-Delta and C-Fibers before reaching the spinal cord and, ultimately, the brain. When you take one of these drugs, those pain signals are intercepted, thereby blocking the message and lowering the pain threshold. 

While these drugs can help to reduce discomfort, overuse or abuse can suppress the body’s autonomic functions. This can cause breathing or your heart rate to slow or even stop. For these reasons and more, it is important to seek treatment right away. Contact Advanced Spine & Rehab today to learn more about how we can help you with our Suboxone treatment program. 

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