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What Are Opiates?

person alone in darkened bedroom seated on bed with head bowed with setting sun in window behind them wondering what are opiates

Understanding the world of substance use disorders (SUDs) can be complex, especially when distinguishing between different types of drugs. One especially confusing area is distinguishing between opiates and opioids and the role of addiction treatment in addressing SUDs related to these drugs. Many Americans ask, “What are opiates?” and North Carolina residents are no exception. Most people understand that opiates and opioids are painkillers.

While some are commonly prescribed for legitimate medical reasons, others are used in very narrowly defined medical circumstances, and some have no legitimate medical use. For those battling an opiate substance use disorder—in the U.S. and North Carolina—a common pathway to substance use disorder is becoming dependent upon legally prescribed medication and then having to seek illicit sources of drugs when they can no longer fill the prescription.

For this reason, Insight Recovery Center offers an opiate addiction treatment program in Asheville, North Carolina. Our compassionate, professional staff offers trauma-informed care tailored to your individual needs and recovery goals. Call 828.826.1376 to learn more about our programs and services.

What Are Opiates vs. Opioids?

The terms opiate and opioid denote whether a drug is naturally derived or synthetically created in a laboratory. The term “opioid” generally includes both opiates and opioids, especially when discussing addiction issues.

Definition of Opiates

Opiates are narcotics that are directly derived from the opium poppy plant. They are often used for their pain-relieving properties but also have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Here are some examples:

  • Morphine – A powerful painkiller used in severe pain management, such as in advanced stages of cancer.
  • Codeine – A less potent opiate often used for mild to moderate pain and sometimes used as a cough suppressant.
  • Heroin – An illegal drug with no recognized medical use, it’s highly addictive and is often injected, snorted, or smoked by users.
  • Opium – An illegal substance that is smoked or ingested for its euphoric effects. It is the raw, unprocessed form of other opiates.

Definition of Opioids

Opioids, unlike opiates, include both drugs derived from opium as well as synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs that mimic the effect of opiates. These drugs are used primarily for their pain-relieving properties, but they also carry a serious risk of addiction and overdose. Here are some examples:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) – A semi-synthetic opioid used for moderate to severe pain. It’s often prescribed post-surgery or for chronic pain conditions, but its potential for abuse and addiction is significant.
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin) – This semi-synthetic opioid is used to treat severe pain. It is one of the most commonly prescribed pain medications, and, as such, it’s widely misused.
  • Fentanyl – A synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. It’s used medically for severe pain management, such as in cancer patients. However, due to its potency, it is a common contributor to overdose deaths when misused.
  • Methadone – A synthetic opioid used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or other opiates. Methadone is highly effective when used as part of a comprehensive recovery program but carries its own risk of addiction.

Opiates and opioids interact with opioid receptors in the brain and body to produce pain-relieving and euphoric effects. While they can be beneficial for pain management, misuse can lead to dependency and addiction, creating a cycle that can be challenging to break without professional help.

The Role of Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment plays a pivotal role in helping individuals overcome substance use disorders with opiates. These programs are designed to address the physical aspect of addiction and the underlying mental and emotional issues that often contribute to substance misuse.

Through a combination of evidence-based therapies, holistic approaches, and aftercare support, addiction treatment can provide the tools necessary for long-term recovery. Here are some commonly used evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches in addiction treatment:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT helps with opiate addiction treatment by helping the individual identify and change patterns of self-destructive thoughts and behaviors that can lead to substance misuse.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI) – MI is a goal-oriented approach focused on motivating the individual to change their behavior, such as drug use.
  • 12-Step facilitation – This evidence-based therapy helps individuals understand the 12 Steps used in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) meetings.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – DBT helps individuals acquire skills to manage stress, regulate emotions, and better cope with triggers that can lead to substance use.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) – ACT helps individuals accept themselves and their situation while focusing on changing their behavior to reach their recovery goals.
  • Holistic approaches – Many addiction treatment programs incorporate holistic activities, like yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation, that help the individual relax and focus on health and well-being.

At Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, North Carolina, we understand the complexities of substance use disorders and how hard it can be to get help. Each of these therapies offers unique benefits and can be tailored to meet individual needs.

Contact Insight Recovery Center Today for Opiate Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one are struggling with opiate addiction, Insight Recovery Center in Asheville, NC, is here to help. Our outpatient addiction treatment programs for opiates are designed to support you every step of the way toward recovery.

Our opiate addiction treatment program is here to provide you with the tools and support you need for a successful recovery. If you have questions or are seeking more information, reach out online or call 828.826.1376 to speak with one of our compassionate staff members today.