The Differences Between Opioids vs Opiates
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: November 6, 2020

Opioids vs. opiates is a common question. Often, the terms are used interchangeably. There are differences you should know about, but what’s most important is to understand just how dangerous both types of drugs are. Our team at Lakeview Health wants you to be proactive in getting help. Our addiction treatment programs focus on the needs of the individual, and we tailor our treatment plans accordingly. This ensures that our clients get the help that they need to succeed.

Whether you’re battling an addiction to opioids or opiates, we have the tools that you need to fully recover. We offer a comprehensive treatment program, combined with holistic and evidence-based treatment options. To learn more about the unique aspects of our addiction treatment programs, contact Lakeview Health using our online form today.

What Are Opiates and Opioids?

Opiates and opioids are both medications that doctors and other medical professionals often use to address chronic and/or extreme pain. Other opioids, such as heroin, are manufactured in drug labs and provide an intense high. Both opiates and opioids are intensely addictive because the drug binds to the brain’s opioids receptors to provide a euphoric feeling. The brain then forgets how to produce happiness on its own, and so the person has to continue using the substance to feel “normal.”

What is the Difference between Opioids vs. Opiates?

When it comes to opioids vs. opiates, the biggest difference is where they come from. Opiates are naturally occurring substances that come from the opium poppy plant. They are derived from this plant, but in their purest form, contain only components from it. Opioids are a drug that is much like opiates, but they are synthetic. That means they are made in a human-made process. They do not have the same chemical structure as opiates, but they do have a lot of the same effects. Opioid addiction treatment will focus on these synthetic substances.

Opiates include morphine, thebaine, and codeine. Others include oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. These are sold under brand names such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Oxecta, and Lorcet. Illicit drugs can fall into this area as well. That includes heroin. Opiate addiction treatment tends to focus on these harmful substances.

Opioid drugs include fentanyl, methadone, meperidine, and tramadol. Some name brands here include Fentora, Methadose, Demerol, and Ultram.

How Do These Drugs Work?

When you compare opioids vs. opiates, they typically work in the same way. These drugs work by reducing the communication between the central nervous system and your body. That means you feel less pain. They also work to stimulate the reward center of the brain. This creates the typical high that people often experience. Over time, this can lead to the development of dependence and tolerance, creating the addiction so many have.

Once a person develops dependence, their body and brain do not function normally without the drug. That leads to the need to keep using. Tolerance develops, too. That means a person may have a hard time stopping their use of the drug on their own.

Are You Facing Addiction?

When it comes to treatment in the opioids vs. opiates comparison, both often require the use of medical detox, especially to monitor a person’s side effects as they start to withdraw from the drug. Our team offers treatment options to help you, including:

If you are dealing with addiction or have used these drugs for a long time, now is the best time to get help. Treatment options can give you the ability to stop having to depend on these drugs and to start on the healing process. You do not have to be a statistic.

Put Your Health First with Care from Lakeview Health

When you think about opioids vs. opiates, you may be unsure what steps to take, no matter what type of drug you are using. In all cases, our treatment counselors at Lakeview Health can offer the guidance you need. Learn more about the treatment programs available by contacting us.

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