What is an opiate or opioid? Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two types of narcotic‑pain-relieving drugs with similar actions and side effects.
Traditionally, opiate describes drugs that come from opium. Opium comes from the opium poppy plant Papaver Somniferum, and has many historical uses including treating pain and inducing sleep along with a long record of abuse. Opioid refers to drugs that are entirely or partially synthetic, or man-made, and mimic the effects of opiates.
Opioids and opiates can be prescription medications often referred to as painkillers, or they can be so-called street drugs, such as heroin.
Many prescription opioids are used to block pain signals between the brain and the body and are typically prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. In addition to controlling pain, opioids can make some people feel relaxed, happy or “high,” and can be very addictive. Side effects can include slowed breathing, constipation, nausea, confusion and drowsiness.
While I was living in the Golden Triangle area of South East Asia, it was fairly easy to get hold of opium. I used opium to self medicate, and there’s no doubt about it, it does ease pain and suffering, however once you’ve been using it for some time, the withdrawals are in the post…
Withdrawing from opiates is always an uncomfortable experience, though the symptoms can be managed.