What Are The Different Types of Opioids?

Opioids are naturally occurring in the resin of the opium poppy, and they are a psychoactive chemical. Also, they can be synthetically made in a medical lab. They work by joining to opioid receptors in the peripheral nervous system, central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, and their main medical function is to prevent and fight pain. They also create a temporary sense of euphoria.

From a legislative standpoint their are legal opioids and illegal ones. For example, heroin would be an illegal opioid, and opioids prescribed for pain like the following:

  • hydrocodone
  • fentanyl
  • morphine
  • oxycodone


They are controlled substances, so selling them or forging prescriptions are serious offenses. Right now, there is an opioid epidemic in the United States, especially because heroin is so potent and inexpensive.

There are three classifications of opioids from a chemical standpoint, and they are as follows:

  • Natural opiates, which are alkaloids and contain nitrogen based chemical compounds found in plants like the opium poppy. Thebaine, morphine and codeine are examples of natural opiates.
  • Manmade opioids that semi-synthetic and made in labs from the base of natural opiates. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, OxyContin and heroin, which is made from morphine are examples of this category.
  • Fully synthetic opioids are completely manufactured with no natural base. They include the very powerful, addictive and deadly drug known as fentanyl, pethidine, methadone and tramadol.


Prescription opioids like OxyContin, morphine and hydrocone are controlled substances given to patients via written prescriptions by doctors to treat pain. They provide people numbering in the millions with needed relief from pain due to sudden and chronic injuries. Also, they are prescribed to patients with chronic diseases, many terminal, like cancer, but opioids produce a sense of physical and psychological euphoria.

This has led to them to be severely abused, and because of the severe withdrawal symptoms, the addiction is more severe. The addiction problem has led to thousands of overdose deaths from prescription medications and heroin and hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits from overdoses.

Between the euphoria and the severe withdrawal symptoms, it often takes professional help to overcome initial, severe withdrawals and the months it takes for the body to recover. If you are suffering from an opioid addiction or have a loved one who is, there is help. Contact the Seacrest Recovery Center by clicking here.

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