Synthetic vs Natural Opioids

By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: November 7, 2019

If you are seeking assistance for an opioid dependency, addiction treatment programs in Florida provide the support you need to begin your journey to recovery. It’s also helpful to understand the difference between synthetic vs natural opioids as each has unique effects. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports that opioids are synthetic or natural chemicals that bind to brain receptors to provide stress reduction and relief from anxiety and pain.

Natural vs Synthetic Opioids

Natural opiates are derived from the poppy plant, also called papaver sominferum. However, just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. In fact, these drugs; including morphine, thebaine, and codeine, can trigger addiction when overused.

Synthetic opiates are usually called opioids to distinguish them from natural opiates. Of all the opioids, fentanyl has received the most attention due to its potency which also makes it habit-forming.

Semi-synthetic opioids come from natural opiates. For example, heroin derives from morphine, while oxycodone and oxymorphone come from thebaine. All of these classifications can trigger addiction when overused. However, manufacturers of synthesized or semi-synthesized versions make these drugs in concentrated forms, so they are more powerful. With more powerful drugs, the likelihood of addiction increases.

Why are Some Natural and Others Synthetic?

Synthetic opioids developed out of a desire to help people with severe symptoms. A lot of the man-made opiates originated as an attempt to reduce the addictive qualities of naturally occurring opioids. However, the synthetic drugs ended up being addictive too. As in the case of heroin, synthetic drugs became widely available and proved as addictive as naturally occurring substances. Some synthetic opioids are beneficial to patients who don’t have a tolerance for morphine or oxycodone.

What are the Differences Between Natural vs Synthetic Opioids?

Besides their origins, there are no major differences between natural vs synthetic opioids. While heroin and fentanyl come in more concentrated doses, they have the same innate risk of dependence as natural opiates. Doctors often prescribe fentanyl to alleviate pain and some people who use it can develop a dependency. Similarly, heroin can create addiction quickly because of how fast it reaches your brain. Morphine has a long history of triggering addiction in people instructed to take the drug to treat pain due to injury or illness.

If you have a substance abuse disorder centered around these drugs, you already know how dangerous they are. Someone dependent on one type of opioid can easily become addicted to another, regardless of whether it’s natural or man-made. All opioids create similar reactions when abused. At Lakeview Health, therapists and other staff support you through your physical and mental battle to overcome your addiction.

What to Expect at Lakeview Health Drug Addiction Treatment Center

Our drug addiction treatment center is in Jacksonville, FL, and offers the following services:

  • Short-term or long-term inpatient opioid treatment programs
  • Opioid or opiate relapse prevention education
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Evidence-based therapies
  • Holistic treatment approaches

Short-term inpatient programs last about 28 days but can extend to 90 days or more. Both inpatient and outpatient services include detox medication to help you overcome your dependency.

If you are dependent on synthetic or natural opioids, seeking help is critical to overcoming your addiction. At Lakeview Health, we use a variety of approaches to help you escape the hold that opioids have on your life.  Call us today at 866.704.7692 to find the road to recovery.