It is no secret that America is facing an opiate epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 1999, the number of prescription opiate narcotics sold to patients and the number of individuals who overdosed and died from these prescriptions was four times more than the previous year. Since then, the problem hasn’t resolved. So, identifying and understanding these dangerous opiate narcotics can help individuals decide that they need help for addiction before overdose occurs.

The Mother of all Opiates: Opium

You may have heard of all the terms: opiates, opioids, and opium. But what is the difference? Basically, the first two are derived from the latter. Opium is the sap taken directly from the poppy plant that contains the active ingredients found in and mirrored by prescription and illicit opioids and opiates. Although it is a specific ingredient and derived with from the natural source itself, it is still used illicitly by individuals to get high. On the black market, opium is sold to be smoked as a powder or tar-like substance. Although it is one of the most expensive forms of this classification of drugs, millions of individuals use it around the world on a daily basis. Additionally, opium is one of the most historically used drugs, as its use dates back to ancient times. This may be due to the fact that opium is one of the most addictive substances on this earth, even more so than its opiate and opioid cousins.

The Street Opioid: Heroin

When many think of heroin, they imagine the top drug in the hierarchy of drugs(if there were one). Often, individuals who use heroin have progressed to the drug by the use of others. Heroin is known as a semi-synthetic opioid, meaning that it is a man-made drug produced to mirror effects of opium and morphine. But, on the streets, heroin may be mixed or added to any ingredients. Heroin is usually purchased as a black tar-like substance that is either smoked or injected right into the bloodstream. Or, it can be found in powder form, which is usually snorted. Chances for developing an addiction to heroin are high for even first-time users, especially for those injecting the substance directly to their bloodstream.

From Hospitals to the Streets: Morphine

First, morphine was introduced into hospital settings as a pain reducer. It is used to sedate individuals post operation or due to extreme pain resulting in illness or injury. Morphine is a actually a main component of opium, meaning that it is not synthetically produced. Administration of morphine is available medically in many forms including tablets, injections, dissolvable granules, suppository, and drinkable liquid. Because of its wide range of use and high potential for addiction, morphine is also sold and abused on the streets.

A Medical Issue Turned to Addiction: Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone, a prescribed opiate, is most commonly used in hospital settings for the use of pain management. Vicodin and Lortab are the most commonly recognized brand name medications that include the opiate hydrocodone. Without a prescription and long-term use, hydrocodone can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. With just one bottle of pills, individuals who would otherwise not ever take these prescriptions can become addicted.

Chronic Pain Medication: Oxycodone

Oxycodone differs from hydrocodone because it is an opioid, or derived right from the poppy seed plant and not synthetically produced. Examples of brand name medications used in the medical field include Percocet and OxyContin. With both or either short-term or long-term use, the use of these prescriptions can become an addiction. Additionally, mixing these prescriptions with other drugs like alcohol increase the risk of overdose and death, which happens to individuals in our country every day.

Do you Have a Problem with Opiate Narcotics?

Are you taking any of these opiate narcotics without full and complete instructions and directions from a doctor, you may be addicted. Opiate narcotics are some of the most powerfully addictive substances on this planet. But, fortunately, treatment for these opiate narcotics can be effective in leading to a life of recovery and sobriety. Do you or a loved one need help for an addiction to opiate narcotics? Give the Lily Pad of St. Augustine a call today to speak with an addiction specialist at 561-758-1011.