What are Opiates?

To understand opiate addiction, you should first understand opiates. Opiates are a group of drugs used for treating pain. They are derived from the dried “milk” of the opium poppy plant. Opiates go by a variety of names including opiates, opioids, dope, downer, and narcotics.

The term opiates is sometimes used for close relatives of opium such as codeine, morphine and heroin, while the term opioids is used for the entire class of drugs including synthetic opiates such as Oxycontin. But the most commonly used term is opiates. Natural and synthetic opiates are collectively known as opioids.

These are some of the common opiates, their generic names, and their common slang names. In order of increasing strength.

  • Codeine, “purp”, “purple”, “drank”, “lean”
  • Vicodin, Hycodan, hydrocodone, “vikes”, “hydros”,
  • MS Contin, Kadian, morphine
  • Oxycontin, Percocet, oxycodone
  • Roxycodone, Roxycet. Roxycet, oxycodone hydrochloride, “roxies”, “blues”, “blueberries”, “thirties”, “smurfs”
  • Dilaudid, hydromorphone, “D’s”, “white guys”, “supermans”, “K4s” “K8s”, “kites”
  • Opana, Numorphan, oxymorphone
  • Duragesic, fentanyl
  • Heroin, “smack”, “boy”, “brown”, “dope”, “montega”, “tar”, “black tar”, “dirt”, ”brown sugar”, “chine white”, “junk”, “H”, “Caps”, “balloons”, “bundles”, “brick”

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Opiate Addiction

  • Opiates produce a sense of well being or euphoria that can be very addictive. When used for pain relief, many people develop tolerance, meaning they need more and more to get the same effect. Some people go on to develop an opiate addiction. This can cause obsessive thoughts about getting more opiates and in some cases engage in illegal activities such as double doctoring or buying them off the street.
  • A high dose of opiates can cause death from cardiac or respiratory arrest. Tolerance to the euphoric effect of opiates develops faster than tolerance to the dangerous effects. Therefore people often overdose by mistake because they are trying to get a higher high and take too much.
  • Opiate overdose can be reversed in a hospital with naltrexone (ReVia) or naloxone (narcan).
  • You are not alone. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that an estimated 5.1 million Americans, aged 12 or older, were currently or within the past month, abusing opoiods.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

  • An increased tolerance for the drug
  • An inability to stop or reduce usage
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you stop using
  • A desire to keep using even when health complications arise
  • An impact on quality of life, including relationships and employment
  • Spending excess time and money on drugs
  • Excessive sleeping or extreme weight loss or gain
  • Turning to crime to pay for more opiates

What are you risking with an opiate addiction?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakened immune system
  • Slow breathing rate
  • Coma
  • Increased risk of HIV or infectious disease (common in intravenous use)
  • Increased risk of hepatitis (common in intravenous use)
  • Hallucinations
  • Collapsed veins or clogged blood vessels
  • Risk of choking
  • Brain damage
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose
  • Death