Opioids are a class of drugs that affect the opioid receptors in the body. These drugs may influence a person’s pain signals, minimize pain, or cause other symptoms like euphoria or dizziness.
Natural opioids come from the opium poppy, but some are synthetic as well. Some commonly used opioids available through a doctor’s prescription include Fentanyl, Codeine, and morphine.
Most commonly, it is prescription opioids that are misused.
What Are the Most Commonly Abused Opioids?
The most commonly misused opioids are prescription opioids. This is because they are originally made available to a patient by prescription due to surgery or other painful condition. Then, once that patient takes these medications, they can become dependent on them.
If their tolerance develops, then they may need more a higher dose of the medications than normal to get the same sensations. Usually, it is at this stage that they switch medications or stop taking medications.
Unfortunately, some people will seek out these medications in higher dosages, either by doctor hopping or by buying them illicitly.
Some of the most commonly abused opioids include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin): This drug comes as a pain pill, in most cases. It is an opioid combined with acetaminophen.
- Oxycodone (OxyContin): This drug comes in a liquid, tablet, or capsule and may be available to treat moderate to severe pain.
- Morphine: Morphine is usually used for moderate or severe pain when other medications don’t work. This is the drug that is the basis for the illicit opioid, heroin.
- Codeine: Doctors may prescribe codeine for many purposes, including reducing the cough response. It may be in some cough medications and can treat mild to moderate pain levels.
- Fentanyl: Doctors almost never prescribe Fentanyl unless a patient is in extreme pain, such as immediately following surgery or because of chronic pain. It is around 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, so doctors are usually cautious about prescribing it.
Among illicit drugs, heroin and Fentanyl are the most common. The two often come together when people use them illicitly, which increases the risk of overdose.
How Does Opioid Addiction Happen?
Even short-term use of opioids can lead to addiction and the potential for an overdose. In fact, anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing a substance use disorder. For opioid users, this is called an opioid use disorder.
At first, most people develop a physical dependency on the drug. For example, if they once took 10 mg of medication to manage their pain, going without it may result in symptoms of withdrawal. That’s a physical dependency.
A tolerance will also develop. Tolerance is when a person no longer gets the same results from using the same medication at the same dosage. For example, the 10 mg that helped their pain in the past may no longer work, and 15 mg may be necessary to get the same pain relief. This tolerance, if left unchecked, could grow to a dangerous point.
When anyone uses opioids, the body releases endorphins (the chemicals that make your body feel good). Unfortunately, when the medication wears off, those feelings do too. That’s usually the first point at which addiction has the potential to develop.
Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery for Help with Opioid Addiction
At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we know that it’s easy to develop a dependency, tolerance, and addiction to opioids. Pain-relieving drugs have that side effect, but there is help available. Our treatment facility provides treatment to adolescents and their families so that they can overcome addiction to oxycodone, codeine, morphine, or other opioid drugs. Call us today at 866.300.5275 to learn more about the services we offer.