What is Opiate
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.
The three classes of medication most commonly misused are:
- Opioids-usually prescribed to treat pain
- Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants (this category includes tranquilizers, sedatives and hypnotics)-used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
- Stimulants – most often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
All opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor’s prescription). Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths.