Recent statistics indicate that there’s a growing problem regarding the misuse or abuse of opiates. For example, over 20 million Americans fit the clinical criteria for having a substance abuse disorder in 2015. Of these 20 million individuals, at least two million have prescription pain medications, and over 500,000 struggle with a heroin addiction. Clearly, the trend toward opiate drug abuse in the United States continues to increase. However, many remain confused about the difference between these types of drugs. For instance, is heroin an opiate?
Is Heroin an Opiate?
To distinguish the difference between heroin and other drugs in its class, we need to fully understand what heroin actually is. Heroin is made from morphine, which is derived from the seeds of poppy plants. Since it originates from morphine, which is an opiate drug, it’s technically correct to classify heroin as an opiate substance.
Understanding the Difference Between Opiates and Opioids
Opioids are a specific class of drugs that can include both illegal substances as well as some prescription medications. Although many substances fit this classification, they’re similar in chemical structure terms and how they affect the brain. Opioids create a pleasurable sensation as they relieve pain.
What’s the main difference between opiates and opioids? To put it simply, the medical community classifies opiates as drugs that originate from naturally occurring components of the poppy plant. In contrast, opioids are synthetically manufactured drugs designed to produce similar effects.
However you want to distinguish these two classifications of drugs, they function similarly within the body. Both opiates and opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain. These opioid receptors usually are home to naturally produced endorphins, which also work to boost pleasure and block pain signals. Once opiate drugs have attached themselves to these opioid receptors, they send signals to the brain that block pain and produce a sensation of euphoria.
The Best Place to Overcome Opiate Addiction
The effects of heroin use can be devastating and potentially deadly. Whether referring to heroin or prescription medications, the opiate epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. Along with additional educational campaigns to help people understand the differences between naturally occurring and synthetic opiate drugs, various addiction treatment facilities are also available to help those attempting to break free from the chains of opiate addiction.
Located in Havre de Grace, Maryland, Ashley Addiction Treatment can help you or someone you love overcome heroin addiction. To learn more about our various substance abuse programs, call us today at 866-313-6307.