Opiates: What you need to know.
Opioid analgesics are comprised of a large group of substances that control pain by depressing the central nervous system. Most opioids are powerful painkillers that are only appropriate for severe pain associated with terminal illness or recovery from major surgery. Their potential for addiction is so strong that the use of opioid medications is more strictly regulated than other prescription drugs.
Types of Opioids
- Morphine – acts as a pain management solution and treats severe cases of diarrhoea.
- Codeine – a medication that’s used to treat mild pain
- Fentanyl – a potent analgesic whose predominant clinical use is in the treatment of terminal cancer. Used as an anaesthetic in less developed countries around the world.
- Tramadol – widely prescribed as a painkiller. A one-tenth is as strong as morphine.
- Methadone – everyday use is as a treatment for people who are struggling with an opioid use disorder.
- Meperidine – treats moderate to severe pain, and it’s sometimes used for rigour or shivering.
- Heroin – a potent and addictive drug but not as strong as fentanyl.
- Hydromorphone – similar in structure to morphine but around eight times more potent as a painkiller.
- Buprenorphine – similar in structure to morphine but 25 times more potent.
- Hydrocodone – commonly known by the brand name Vicodin. Used as a cough suppressant and to treat mild to moderate pain.
An acute high dose of opioid drugs used by abusers or addicts can cause depressed coordination, smaller pupils, disrupted decision, decreased respiration, hypothermia, and coma.
Some of the indicators that a person is under the influence of opiate drugs are small pupils, sweating, nausea, vomiting.
Continued users of opiates can cause depression from not being able to think clearly and a sense of feeling lost (especially if it’s combined with alcohol), loss of cognitive function, arthritis.
Morphine is excreted unmetabolised and is the marker metabolic product of opiates. Morphine and morphine glucuronide is detectable in urine for several days after opiates dose.