Opiate Addiction/Opioid Addiction
The terms “opioid” and “opiate” are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meaning and usages. At one point in time, the word “opioid” was used to describe only the synthetic substance used to mimic opium. Today, it’s used to define the entire class of substances either derived from or used to simulate opium. “Opiate,” on the other hand, refers to a natural drug derived from the opium poppy. Whether the drug is in its natural or synthetic form, it can cause serious side effects and be dangerously addictive.
While opiates are prescribed to relieve acute pain, prolonged use can lead to opiate addiction (opioid addiction) and abuse. Common opioids include prescription painkillers such as dilaudid, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, as well the illicit drug heroin. Opiate addiction (including opioid addiction) is the leading cause of the drug overdose in the United States, with an estimated 20,101 deaths due to prescription painkillers and 12,990 deaths due to heroin use in 2015. Opiate addiction is a disease that has destroyed the lives and families of millions. While there is no cure for opiate addiction, this disease can be treated in drug addiction rehabilitation, or drug rehab.
To fully understand the depths of opioid addiction, including opiate addiction, it’s important to consider the intended use of these substances as well as what makes them so addictive.