What Are Opiates?

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are form of narcotic drugs that are derived from opium. The substance has been in use for both medical and recreational purposes since they act like depressants. In the medical field, opiate extracts are used in manufacturing pain relieving drugs since they help in depressing the central nervous system (CNS) and, also, reduce efficiency of the pain receptors in the brain, as well as change the perception of pain.

The opium used in manufacturing the opiates can either be derived from naturally grown poppy plants or they can also be derived from semi-natural alkaloids. Examples of the common opiates in the market include codeine, morphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and heroin.

Both animals and humans have opiate receptors that are located in the brain. These receptors are the places where different kinds of opiates, such as morphine and heroin, are received. These receptors are present in the brains since they have internal neurotransmitters that act on these receptor sites and produce responses in the body which are similar to the responses that are sent by the opiate drugs.

What Are Opiates?

The pain killers that are manufactured using opiates are only available with a prescription from a doctor. Selling the drugs is curtailed since they have high potency and addiction effects make them vulnerable to abuse. In countries such as the United States the drugs are sold legally, but are controlled under schedules which are ranked into five different classes.

The history of opium dates back to 3400 BC. There are civilizations, such as Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and Sumar, that used to cultivate the plant. A Greek physician, Hippocrates, used opium as a narcotic. Alexander the Great spread the substance in countries such as Persia and India. Opium was first used as a pain killer by a Swiss chemist by the name Philippus.

During the19th century, a number of discoveries were made concerning the drug. Among them included morphine, which was discovered by the German pharmacist, Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, in 1803. It was named after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. Alexander Wood, a Scottish physician, was the first to administer morphine with a syringe in 1843. An English scientist, C. R Wright, synthesized heroin in 1874 for the first time.

There are different classes of opiates that are determined by their potency and strength. A drug such as heroin is a schedule (I) drug, meaning that it absolutely has no medical value. It can only be used for recreational purposes and at the addict’s risk since it is illegal.

The schedule (II) drugs are controlled by very restrictive laws, but are not illegal. They include drugs such as morphine and methadone. You can only acquire them with a prescription from a doctor or from the illicit street trade in case you have no prescription. The restriction of the substance falls as you go from one schedule to the other. Schedule (V) is the lowest and the least restricted.

Regardless whether you have been using the opiates for legal or illegal reasons, opiate withdrawal and overdose on opiate drugs require professional treatment (800-303-2482). Withdrawal of opiates simulates the effects of a bad flu, but it is not life threatening in itself.