Is Morphine an Opiate or Opioid? Opiates vs Opioids
Opioids and opiate medications are similar in that they both bind to the body’s opioid receptors to produce strong pain relievers, sedatives, and pleasurable feelings, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Opiates, including opioids are often prescribed for short-term relief of moderate to severe pain. However, long-term use of prescription opioids can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
However, opioids are often prescribed for chronic pain management while opiates are used for acute pain relief.
What are opiates?
The term “opiate” refers to drugs derived from the latex of the opium poppy. Opium poppies grow wild throughout Eurasia, Africa, and parts of South America. In ancient times, people used opium poppies to make wine, food, medicine, clothing, rope, and even paper.
The use of opiates began in the late 1800s, when morphine was discovered to relieve severe pain. You could by it over the counter back then! In 1914, codeine was synthesized, followed by several others. Morphine is derived from poppy seed pods, while codeine is obtained from the dried inner bark of the willow shrub. Both are natural opiates used medicinally in pain management, cough suppression, and sedative properties. However, synthetic versions of both substances are widely abused due to their similar effects.
What are opioids?
Opioids are similar in function to opiates, but they are manufactured from more than just the poppy plant. Morphine, heroin and codeine are all natural, which is why they are considered opiates in the opioid family. As chemistry got more advanced, pharmaceutical companies figured out how to use chemicals, sometimes even without any poppy at all! So, while an opiate is considered an opioid, there are many drugs in the same family that have a different classification.
Opioids are drugs that act on the brain and nervous system to produce their effects. There are two types of opioids: endogenous and exogenous. Exogenous opioids include prescription medications such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and others. Endogenous opioids include substances produced by our own bodies, including endorphin, enkephalins, dynorphins, and endomorphins. Basically, whether it’s natural or not, all opioids are mimicking a particular set of chemicals that occur naturally.
The reason these companies wanted to make artificial versions of these already extremely addictive drugs was to make them even stronger. This in turn made them more deadly, and of course, more addictive. Some synthetic opioids include fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and propoxyphene. These are all very powerful narcotics with high abuse potential. They are also highly dangerous because they are so easy to get your hands on.
The opioid epidemic has been devastating America since it began in the late 1980s. In 2017 alone, nearly 64,000 people died due to overdoses related to prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. This number represents a 25% increase over 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is now facing a public health emergency.
What is more deadly, opiates or synthetic opioids?
One reason for the rise in deaths is the fact that many people believe synthetic opioids are safe and effective treatments for chronic pain. However, there are some risks associated with taking opioid medication. Some patients may experience side effects such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, itching, sweating, insomnia, headache, confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. If you feel like your opioid prescriptions aren’t working, talk to your doctor about alternative options.
The fact is, both natural opiates and synthetic opioids kill. Since they’re illegal, you never know how potent they will be, as consistency is practically impossible in the black market. However, when you consider the synthetic opioid Fentanyl is 50x stronger than it’s older, more natural brother, heroin, it becomes much more difficult to maintain consistency. That’s because as little as one grain of fentanyl can mean the difference between life and death.
In the United States alone, the number of opioid overdoses rose from 8,000 in 1999 to 16,000 in 2016. Between 1999 and 2016, the percentage of drug poisoning deaths involving opioids grew from 3.2% to 7.4%.
As opioid addiction became more prevalent, many states enacted laws requiring doctors to report patients who were addicted to controlled substances. Overdose deaths associated with prescription opioids fell sharply in 2012, following the passage of such legislation.1However, the numbers rebounded in 2013 and continued to rise throughout 2014 and
By 2016, the number of opioid overdose deaths exceeded those caused by cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. As of January 2017, there were approximately 64,000 fatal opioid overdoses in the US.
What is more addictive, opiates or synthetic opioids?
The newer, synthetic opioids like Fentanyl are so much more addictive than opiates because chemists designed them to be that way. With that said, it should be no surprise when I tell you that these dangerous new chemicals have actually made the old-school stuff like heroin obsolete.
This is a problem, because the half life of Fentanyl is so short. A half life is how long it takes your body to remove a drug from your system. In the context of addiction, this means you need to take the drug more often. Most users can’t even sleep through the night before needing more of the drug!
Addiction to opioids includes withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug or reduce dosage. This can cause cravings and irritability. If you experience any of these signs while trying to cut down or stop using opioids, contact your doctor immediately.
Is Morphine an Opiate or Opioid?
Many people wonder whether Morphine is an Opiate or Opioid. Well, it’s actually both! As we discussed before, all opiates are opioids, but not all opioids are opiates. It all depends on whether the poppy plant was used to make the drug or not.
Morphine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in opium poppy plants (Papaver somniferum). It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner and named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. The chemical structure of morphine has been known since 1828.
It acts on the brain by attaching itself to receptors called mu-opioid receptors.These receptors are located all over the body, but are most concentrated in the central nervous system. They help regulate pain, mood, appetite, temperature, memory, and other bodily functions.
Morphine is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works best for acute pain, which is pain that occurs suddenly and lasts only a few days. Acute pain is usually due to injury or surgery. Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting longer than three months.
Morphine also helps relieve coughs and diarrhea. It may also be prescribed to treat nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy.
Morphine is available in several forms: oral tablets, sublingual tablets, liquid solution, injection, suppositories, transdermal patches, nasal spray, and vaporizer cartridges.
How does morphine work?
When you’re experiencing pain, your body releases endorphins into your bloodstream. Endorphins are natural painkillers produced by the body. When your body senses pain, it produces endorphins to block out the pain signals.
Endorphins bind to specific receptors in your brain and spinal cord. These receptors send messages to your brain telling it not to feel pain.
Morphine attaches to these same receptors and blocks the message they send. This stops your brain from feeling pain.
Is Heroin an Opiate or Opioid?
Heroin is also considered to be an opiate, and it’s the one most people know about. That’s because instead of the single alkaloid morphine, it contains that and many others present in the poppy plant.
The main difference between heroin and morphine is that heroin is made from the leaves of the Papaver somniferum poppy plant. It’s extracted with alcohol and then purified.
In contrast, morphine is derived from the seeds of the poppy plant. It’s processed without alcohol.
Both drugs have similar effects on the brain. Heroin binds to opioid receptors in the brain just like morphine. However, it doesn’t attach to the same receptor sites. Instead, it attaches to different ones.
This means that heroin affects the brain differently than morphine. Heroin causes euphoria and feelings of well being. It also makes users more sensitive to pain.
What to do if you or someone you know needs help with Opioids
Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States. It’s estimated that more than 1 million Americans are addicted to opioids, and many of them have become dependent on these drugs after suffering from an injury or other health condition.
If you suspect someone you care about may be abusing opioids, here are some things you can do:
• Ask questions. Be sure to ask what medications he or she is currently taking. You might also want to find out whether your loved one has been prescribed painkillers recently.
•Get medical attention. If you think your loved one is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.
• Offer support. If you notice changes in behavior or mood, talk to your loved one about his or her feelings.
• Make a plan. If you decide to seek treatment, make sure you choose a program that will work best for your individual situation.
• Take action. Don’t wait until your loved one becomes too sick to recover. Get him or her into rehab as soon as possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that prescription opioid overdose deaths increased by nearly 50 percent between 1999 and 2015. In 2016, more than 47,600 people died from a drug overdose—more than any year on record.
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