Opiates date back thousands of years and are also referred to as narcotics. Narcotic addicts, when faced with shortages in their supply, often substitute various narcotic drugs for others. Opiates are central nervous system depressants. Immediately after taking the drug the user will experience a rush of euphoria. Drugs derived from opium bind to opiate receptors found throughout the central nervous system which cause the release of endorphins, the bodies natural opiates.
Opiates are hard for a person to stop using because of their strong addictive nature and also because of their terrible withdrawal symptoms. If a person does not check themselves into an addiction treatment center in order to try to kick the habit, chances are good that they are not going to be able to stop using the drugs on their own. Opiates are so named because they are constituents or derivatives of opium , which is processed from the latex sap of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum . The major biologically active opiates found in opium are morphine , codeine , thebaine and papaverine . Opiates are powerfully addictive analgesic drugs that deaden nerve pathways related to pain. Abusers of propoxyphene (Darvon), meperidine (Demerol), percocet (Oxycodone), heroin, morphine, and other powerfully addictive opiates quickly build up a tolerance to the drugs and need progressively larger doses to achieve the desired effect.
Opiates are derived from opium poppies. These include morphine and codeine. Opiates are classed as depressants, although they won't necessarily make a user feel depressed. Depressants slow down activity in the brain and central nervous system. Opiates are effective for the treatment of chronic pain. Opiates are commonly referred to as "downers” although they tend to bring on sensations of euphoria, pleasure, and tranquility. Opiates can appear in many forms: white powder or crystals; small white, yellow or orange pills; large colorful capsules; clear liquid and dark brown, sticky bars or balls. Semi-synthetic opiates are created from natural opioids and include buprenorphine , hydrocodone , oxycodone , hydromorphone and oxymorphone. Natural opiates are contained in the resin of the opium poppy plant and include morphine and codeine.
Addiction to opiates is as old as opiates themselves and is a chronic illness like heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Persons with these chronic diseases are prone to relapse. Addiction doesn't always occur among people who use opiate pain relievers, however, inappropriate use of prescription drugs can lead to addiction in some cases. Patients, healthcare professionals, and pharmacists all have roles in preventing misuse and addiction. Along with the frightening short-term effects of some opiates, addiction can lead you to forgo everything else in your life (food, clothing, housing, medical care) so you can afford to take opiates as often as possible.
Before modern times the most common and widely used form of opiate was opium. Opium has amazing narcotic properties and has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. It was a popular pain-reliever for the ancient Macedonaians who named the drug. Opium was used as a narcotic by Hippocrates, introduced to Persia and India by Alexander the Great, and used as painkillers by Paracelsus during the Renaissance. Alexander Wood, first administered it by injection with a syringe.
Morphine was introduced in the late 19th century as a pain reliever for sufferers of chronic pain. Morphine usually comes as a pink liquid or tablets. Percocet and percodan come as tablets, drops or liquid. Morphine does not consistently reduce the neuropathic pain. Morphine is the primary constituent of crude opium. Morphine is used medicinally in the United Sates to alleviate moderate to severe pain and can be obtained by prescription from a doctor.
Heroin was first prepared from morphine by boiling it with acetic anhydride, and then using a process that involved hydrochloric acid, strychnine, and caffeine. Heroin and the most dangerous and highly addictive form of opiate and is a Schedule I drug in the US with no known medical application.