Opiates (OPI)

What are they?

Opiates come from poppy plants. Opiates are chemicals that are similar to naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These opiates can bind to the same receptors in the brain and body to produce effects like: suppressing pain, reduce anxiety, and euphoria. [1]

Drugs categorized as opiates are:

  • Heroin
  • Opium[2]
  • Moprhine
  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • Percodan
  • Methadone


What health risks are there?

Short Term Effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Bone Pain
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating and chills
  • Decreased breathing
  • Suppression of pain
  • Euphoria
  • Dry mouth

Long Term Effects:

  • Addiction
  • Breathing stops
  • Collapsed veins
  • Arthritis
  • Abscesses
  • Bacterial infection
  • Lung problems
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Infection of heart lining[3]



How is it used?

Opiates can be introduced into the body by injection, snorting, ingestion or smoking. Injection delivers the strongest and quickest effects compared to the other methods. Since opiates produce pain relief, prescription forms of opiates have been used in medical practice, although the prescribed amounts should not make patients addicted to using the drug. [4]


[1] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Treating_opiate_addiction_Detoxification_and_maintenance.htm

[2] http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Opium.pdf

[3] http://www.drugabuse.ca/heroin

[4] http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/prescription-drugs-abuse-addiction/opioids/what-are-possible-consequences-opioid-use-abuse