What Is The Difference Between Opiates & Opioids

Opioids are incredibly addictive due to their euphoric effects, and their dependence or opioid addiction can start in a very early phase. Opioids can produce a high degree of tolerance very quickly. Here we explain you Difference Between Opiates and Opioids.


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It is imperative for a person suffering from addiction and even people who are not addicted to any substance to understand the difference between opiates and opioids. Opiates are natural, mind-altering compounds that have various medical benefits, and they are found in opium. These include Morphine, Codeine, and thebaine. The other term for opiate might refer to semi-synthetic compounds that are procured from these organic substances.

The definition of opioids is any compounds that act on opioid receptors in the body, including opiates and compounds that are entirely synthetic. People prefer to use the term opioid to include all of these compounds, and therefore the term opiate has become obsolete. The terms opiate and opioids can be confused as many times. They have been used incorrectly or interchangeably on many platforms, probably because people feel there is no need to have two separate terms from the same class of drugs, which are essentially the same that might confuse them.

Every substance classified under opiate or opioid is a chemical compound that interacts with specific receptors that make up our body and produce the same effect as pain relief, constipation, cough syrup, dulled sense, and slowed heart rate. These substances are also considered dangerous, and people who overdose on them can have fatal effects and have an immensely high potential for abuse and opioid addiction.

The words opiate and opioid come from the seed of the opium poppy plant. Opium is a substance derived from the origin of the poppy plant. They are flowers that have been cultivated for thousands of years to collect the latex from the seeds, which then can be dried to make opium. It has known medical qualities that reduce many problems ranging from pain relief and diarrhea treatment to induce sleep.

What are Opium Alkaloids or Opiates?

Opium alkaloids are the chemical substances that produce or recreational effects, and they are the ones that are referred to as opiates. Three main alkaloids of opium can be used in their natural form or to synthesize other medical compounds, and they are:


Morphine is an alkaloid that is mostly found in opium. It is also the compound that is mainly used from opium for medical purposes. This alkaloid is generally used as a pain reliever and plays a significant role in developing semi-synthetic medications like hydromorphone. Heroin also is a product that comes from Morphine, and it is chemically pretty similar to each other. The most popular opiate is Heroin and a Schedule I narcotic under the United States federal laws. They are not medicinally useful and are also highly abused. Heroin addiction is the most common and most crucial drug abuse issue faced by the entire nation.


In lesser concentrations, an alkaloid is Codeine, but it is nevertheless an important compound used for medical purposes. Codeine is generally used as a compound in many cough syrups. Codeine addiction is widespread in the US, and Codeine is often called lean or purple drank. Lean addiction can be hazardous.


This alkaloid is the most toxic component among all three alkaloids. A small amount of opium content is still used for medical prescription, but they generally remove thebaine because of its high toxicity.

More on Popular Opioids in the USA

When it comes to opioids, they are any compound that acts on opioid receptors in the body. Opioid receptors are the proteins found in the spinal cord, brain, and digestive tracts that interact with the compounds to produce effects in our body, naturally called endogenous opioids. Man-made Opioids that are not made in the body can be injected, consumed, inhaled, or snorted, act on the same receptors in the body, and produce similar effects.

Four classes of Opioids

Endogenous Opioids:

Are the ones that are enkephalins, and endorphins are produced in the brain.

Opium Alkaloids:

Natural opiates such as Morphine and Codeine.

Semi-synthetic opioid:

Drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone & buprenorphine.

Fully synthetic opioids:

Include fentanyl, methadone, and naloxone.

How are Opioids Classified?

There are various ways to categorize opioids.
They can be classified under their typical use, which is basically for medical purposes.
Opioids can also be categorized based on how they interact with opioid receptors in the body.
There are three classifications, full agonist, partial agonist, or antagonist.

  • Antagonist opioids are the ones that are attached to the receptors in the body without activating them. These drugs won’t cause any opioid effects, and they block agonist opioids from sticking to the receptors.
  • Full agonist opioids are the ones that fully activate the opioid receptors in our body. Agonist Opioids include heroin, oxycodone, methadone, and Morphine.
  • Partial agonist opioids are the ones that trigger the opioid receptors but not to the extent or not to the degree of full opioids and therefore produce much weaker effects than the full agonist opioids. Partial agonist opioids include buprenorphine and are used to treat opioids by warding off cravings and withdrawal symptoms without making intense effects like the ones that come out of heroin.

Opioid Use Disorder in the US

Opioids are incredibly addictive due to their euphoric effects, and their dependence or opioid addiction can start in a very early phase. Opioids can produce a high degree of tolerance very quickly. The brain functions differently than usual to compensate for the presence of the opioid; increasingly higher doses are provided to people to get the desired effects. Higher doses place the individual at a greater risk of an opioid overdose.

It is critical to seek medical advice immediately if you or your loved ones are experiencing opioid dependency. Opioid addiction is curable It is critical to seek medical advice immediately if you or your loved ones are experiencing opioid dependency. Opioid addiction is a curable disease and there are resources for opiate addiction treatment in NJ.

Signs of Opioid Withdrawal

Signs of withdrawal are similar for all opioids regardless of the type of opioid used and can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased body temperature
  • Racing heart
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • High blood pressure

Detox Treatment

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unbearable, and in some scenarios, withdrawal from opioids may be dangerous and even life-threatening. Avatar Residential Detox offers opiates withdrawal treatment in NJ. The opioid timeline for withdrawal can vary depending on the opioid, how it was used, length of use, and any additional substances that were consumed. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few days to a few weeks. Medically supervised withdrawal, or detoxification, can ensure you make it through the process safely and as comfortable as possible.

A popular option for opioid detox is tapering, which means the dose is reduced gradually until the person’s body is no longer relying on the drug or is maintained on an opioid maintenance drug such as buprenorphine methadone. This option is usually available when you undergo a medical detox under a physician’s supervision, 24/7 supervision, and emotional support from other staff members.

Avatar opiates treatment centers in NJ provide structured Opioid detox programs supported by complementary specialty therapies. Customized Opioids detox center in New Jersey are created based on diagnosis and Opioid addiction assessment. We are equipped to treat opiate addiction, tramadol addiction, oxycodone addiction, hydrocodone addiction, morphine addiction, fentanyl addiction, Percocet addiction, suboxone addiction, methadone addiction, codeine addiction, and heroin addiction. We have custom structured drug and alcohol rehab programs and substance abuse services in New Jersey.

Need more information?

Please call (973)-774-7222 for more information about opiates addiction treatment in NJ and opioids addiction treatment in NJ. We provide a variety of treatment services for opiates and opioids addiction at our opioids detox center in New Jersey. Each of our programs is customized to support the individual needs of our patients. We are here to assist you 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

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