Facts About Opioids (Opiates)

Opioids are a class of drugs prescribed to relieve acute and chronic pain. Opioids are sometimes referred to as opiates, but while people may use these terms interchangeably, there are key differences. Opiates refer to natural opioids like morphine, codeine, and heroin. Opioids, the more commonly used term, include natural, synthetic, and semisynthetic opioids.

Unfortunately, these drugs are addictive and can cause pleasure and euphoria, leading to misuse and addiction. Opioid addiction is a complex and highly destructive form of addiction. It can have severe consequences, including respiratory depression, coma, and death. Additionally, long-term use can lead to or worsen many physical and mental health problems.

If you or a loved one struggles with opioid addiction, Buena Vista Recovery can help. This glossary page provides valuable insight into opioid use, addiction, the short- and long-term effects of opioids, and the steps to start on the road to recovery. 

Quick Statistics and Facts About Opioids


Common Types of Opioids

  • Prescription opioids, including morphine, methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin 


The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Opioids

One of the most significant dangers of opioid addiction is the risk of overdose and death. However, opioid use can lead to many physical and mental health problems. Here’s a look at some of the short- and long-term effects of opioids.

Short-Term Effects Long-Term Effects
Drowsiness Respiratory problems
Nausea and vomiting Heart problems
Confusion Cognitive impairment
Constipation Liver damage
Slowed breathing Hormonal imbalances
Increased risk of infections

Opioid Addiction and Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction is a serious and potentially deadly condition, and it can be incredibly challenging to stop opioid use independently. Over time, the body depends on opioid use, leading to uncomfortable or severe withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to reduce or stop the use. These symptoms cause many users to relapse, continuing the destructive cycle of opioid addiction.

Fortunately, you’re not alone, and there are many treatment options available that can help. If you or a loved one are battling addiction, Buena Vista is here to support you. We’re committed to providing compassionate, effective, and individualized care to our patients to help them get on and stay on the road to recovery.

The first step in recovery is a medically supervised detox, where we make patients as comfortable as possible during withdrawal symptoms and eliminate the possibility of relapse during withdrawal. From there, we take a patient-focused approach to treatment and help you find the best long-term treatment plan.

If you or a loved one struggles with opioid addiction, contact Buena Vista today to learn more and take the first step toward recovery!

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