What Are Opiates?

Opiates are a class of narcotic. Its name comes from the opium poppy flower, the source of the main chemical.

The most common and recognizable form of opiates is in prescription drugs that are used to treat anything from mild to severe pain. These drugs are typically known as painkillers.


In addition to having the ability to drastically help with symptoms of pain, opiates also have a sought after calming effect for users, which is something that has been shown to lead users down the path of abuse, similar to other drug classes like benzodiazepines.

Common Opiates Include:

  • Codeine
  • Darvocet and Darvon
  • Demerol
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Suboxone
  • Tramadol

Consequences of Opiate Misuse

In most cases, addiction to opiates stems from an individual getting injured and prescribed a painkiller medication. While innocently taking what a doctor has prescribed and suggested, like with many other drugs, our bodies develop a tolerance to the substance.

In order to feel the same effects, users often either increase their dosage or use the drugs for longer periods of time than what is initially suggested. While increased dosages show a higher likelihood of addiction, both increasing intake and maintaining a regimen longer than suggested contribute to an individual becoming addicted.

The longer the drug is taken and the higher the dose, the body is put into a state of physical dependence where it’s seemingly required to keep using in order to feel normal.

Then, individuals who become hooked on painkillers/opiates have a difficult time weaning themselves from the drugs on their own. Attempts to reduce dosages and frequency of use brings on withdrawal symptoms that can make one feel sick, ultimately leading to using again, sometimes to the point of using more than their normal amount. In these cases, the addiction can grow even deeper and more dangerous.

Because of the easy to abuse nature of opiates and the availability of them on the black market, the epidemic of abuse and addiction has become much more prevalent. Treatment facilities see a vast number of their patients dealing with addiction and withdrawal of opiates. Because of these large numbers, the education and experience around treating opiate addiction is vast, common and effective.

Treatment programs offer an addict the highest level of success with managing through the painful withdrawal and detox period and equip the individual with tools and resources to prevent further use once having completed the program.

If you or a loved one are suffering from the frustrating and painful side effects of opiate addiction, it is imperative to address them as soon as possible.