General information about opiates & opioids

What are opiates & opioids?

Opiates, sometimes called narcotics, are alkaloids derived from opium poppy.  Some types of opiates are Morphine, Codeine, Heroin and opium.  Opioids are synthetic or partly-synthetic drugs manufactured to work in a similar way to opiates.  Some types of opioids are Methadone, Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, Dilaudid and many others.  For a more complete list click here. 

What are opiates used for medically?

The most common medical use for opiates is to relieve pain.  

How do opiates work?

Opiates work by altering the way that pain is perceived.  They mimic chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on neve cells called opioid receptors.  These receptors play different roles, but they are generally responsible for the pleasurable effects from opiates and their ability to reduce pain.