It’s hard to go a day without hearing some reference to the nation’s drug epidemic. The central players in that epidemic are classes of drugs known as opioids and opiates. What’s the difference between opioids and opiates, and what does it mean for treatment?
Opioids and opiates have many similarities, the most important of which is that they trace their origins back to the poppy plant. Some are natural. Others are man-made. But they are equally deadly in their impact, and each requires help from professional treatment centers to break the cycle of addiction. Make Blueprint Recovery Center your first choice.
Difference Between Opioids and Opiates
One of the challenges facing public health experts is the variety of drugs that are subject to abuse. Data shows that cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, for example, are all significantly abused.
To understand the scope of the problem, it’s important to understand the different categories of drugs. One area subject to confusion is the distinction between opioids and opiates. At a basic level, both opioids and opiates trace their origin back to the poppy plant. The distinction lies in how the drugs are created.
Opiates are drugs that come naturally from the poppy plant. These include compounds such as opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin. Opioids are at least partially man-made. They include medications such as OxyContin, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, among others.
The confusion comes in the distinction between “street” forms of these drugs, and the natural versions. A street version of heroin may have been altered, making it an opioid. But here’s one area where the distinction disappears: when abused, opioids and opiates both have deadly consequences.
The Epidemic We Face
Opioids and opiates have been a top concern of public health officials for more than two decades. There is no sign that the epidemic is letting up, and it could even be getting worse.
The origin of the epidemic goes back to the late 1990s when newer painkillers such as OxyContin first came on the scene. Doctors began prescribing these new drugs with the mistaken belief that they posed less of a threat for opioid addiction.
When it became apparent that was wrong, and doctors rolled back the number of prescriptions they wrote, it left many people in the limbo of withdrawal. Out of desperation, people sought heroin for relief for their withdrawal issues. Later came a surge in the abuse of synthetic drugs such as fentanyl.
Signs of Addiction
Understanding the distinction between opioids and opiates is helpful. But it’s not necessary to keep that distinction in mind to recognize substance abuse. The symptoms are common across both categories, and can also appear in prescription drug abuse:
- Repeated struggles with flu-like illness
- Excessive drowsiness
- Weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Sexual dysfunction
- Isolation from friends or family
These symptoms are admittedly general. So it’s important not to overreact if you see one of these clues. However, if these start appearing in clusters, it may be time to consider addiction treatment.
Recovery from Opioid and Opiate Addiction at Blueprint Recovery Center
Opioids and opiates have had devastating consequences on the lives of millions across the world. The impact includes both illegal and prescription drug abuse. The best way to break the cycle of addiction to opioids and opiates is to get professional treatment from a facility such as Blueprint Recovery Center. We’re an outpatient drug and alcohol rehab center with decades of experience in the field of addiction treatment. Our accredited medical and counseling staff provides a range of outpatient treatment options that can help put you on the road to recovery quickly. Consider our safe, secure, and private facility for your treatment. Let us build a treatment plan that works. Reach a counselor today by contacting Blueprint Recovery Center at 833.654.1004 for an initial consultation.