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Different Opioid Forms – Understanding the Drug

Different Opioid Forms - Understanding the Drug

Opioids can either be created from naturally occuring substances from the opium poppy plant or by synthetic methods. Opioids can come in the form of prescription medications, heroin, and fentanyl. The main use of the substance is pain relief, but when taken in larger amounts it can produce feelings of euphoria. All opioid forms are addictive, but some are more so than others. Understanding the different forms of opioids can help prevent addiction and inform the sobriety process.

Prescription Opioids

Opiates are a common pain relieving medication that doctors prescribe after surgery, for acute pain, and more. The act to block pain signals from the brain to the body. Common prescription opioids are morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. 

Not only do these prescription medications relieve pain, but they also make the user feel drowsy and relaxed. When abused, prescription opiates can make the user nauseous, induce vomiting, and slow breathing – which could result in overdose. 

If prescribed opiates, they should be taken exactly as directed and stopped as soon as you no longer feel you need them to manage pain. Doctors will only prescribe opioids in controlled, small amounts.

Fentanyl – The Synthetic Opioid

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be prescribed by a doctor in unique situations, but it is mainly manufactured on the street illicitly. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than natural opioids like morphine. When abused, fentanyl can damage the brain’s ability to produce serotonin – making users dependent on fentanyl to feel joy or happiness. 

Common fentanyl effects include a sense of extreme euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and breathing issues. When consumed in large quantities users can also experience loss of consciousness or extreme confusion.

Fentanyl is dangerous on the streets because there is no way to confirm if it has been mixed into other street drugs like cocaine or pills. Because of its potency, fentanyl has a high rate of overdose when compared to other common drugs.

Heroin – Morphine’s Sinister Counterpart

Heroin is an opioid that is derived from morphine. Heroin often comes in the form of powder or a sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin is a fast acting drug, and when injected, snorted, or smoked it can make users feel effects almost instantly. It’s a huge risk to consume heroin because, like fentanyl, there is no way to know if other substances have been mixed into the drug. 

When consumed, heroin gives users a rush of joy or euphoria, moving into drowsiness, trouble breathing, nausea, dry mouth, and fatigue. Overdose on heroin is complicated because it’s hard to determine how much heroin was taken and how strong it was when consumed. When overdosing on heroin, users will have shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, clammy skin, convulsions, and coma. In extreme cases, death will occur.

Detoxing from Opioids

Regardless of what type of opioid is consumed, detox is necessary for recovery. Opioid detox is a complex, dangerous process that should be done under medical supervision and immediately followed by inpatient rehab treatment. Common medications prescribed during the detox process for opiates include buprenorphine and naltrexone. These medications can reduce pain and discomfort while detoxing to make users less at risk for relapse. If you or someone you know could benefit from opioid detox and rehabilitation, connect with the Rise Above Treatment team. We’re available 24/7 to help guide you towards sobriety any time, anywhere.

About Rise Above Treatment

Rise Above Treatment is a Murrieta, California based addiction treatment center that is committed to helping people recover from drug, alcohol, and other mental health concerns that are holding them back. We offer a range of services, including medical detox, residential rehab, addiction PHP, sober living options, and intensive outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, visit us at or give us a call at ‭(855) 948-6325‬ and begin your journey to recovery.

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