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What Are Opiates?

Opiates are a narcotic derived from opium.
Some opiates, such as heroin, are illegal and considered to have no medical use.
Morphine, named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, is an opiate.
Opiates, such as codeine and hydrocodone, are present in some medications.
An individual withdrawing from opiate use exhibits flu-like symptoms and may require medical care.
Schedule III opiates include unmixed codeine and hydrocodone combined with aspirin or acetaminophen.
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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
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  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2014
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Opiates are a group of narcotics that contain opium or a derivative of opium, either natural or synthetic and have a sedative effect. They are also called opioids. Many of the pain killers important to medical practice are this type of medication. They are legally available only by prescription.

The use of opiates in medical practice has a long history. Opium was cultivated as early as 3400 B.C. by the peoples of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and Sumer. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, used opium as a narcotic, and Alexander the Great introduced it to India and Persia. During the Renaissance, Paracelsus, the Swiss physician and alchemist whose given name was Theophrastus Phillippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, used opium as a pain killer.

A number of developments in the use of opiates took place in the nineteenth century. Morphine, named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, was discovered in 1803 by German pharmacist Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, and it was first administered by an injection using a syringe in 1843 by Scottish physician Alexander Wood. In 1874, the English scientist C. R. Wright became the first person to synthesize heroin, which began to be sold by The Bayer Company in 1898.

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Opiates have been developed with a range of strengths and purposes, and as a result, they have different ratings in the Scheduling system that rates the drugs. The legal varieties have different rankings in the system.

The least restrictive rating, Schedule V, has been assigned to cough medicines with the opiate codeine. Schedule IV, which is next least restrictive, is assigned to Darvon®. Schedule III opiates include unmixed codeine and hydrocodone combined with either acetaminophen or aspirin. Schedule II, the most restrictive legally available drugs, includes methadone and morphine.

Withdrawal from opiates may occur even after long-term legal use. They are among the drugs for which withdrawal and overdose both require treatment. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal may mimic a bad case of the flu, and is not in itself life-threatening.

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anon294466
Post 8

I was wondering if the suboxone destroys the sex drive. It seems like ever since my husband has been taking this, we hardly ever have sex.

anon173355
Post 7

I am allergic to morphine and several other pain killers. So my doctor put me on methadone. Now I am trying to get off meth and go on Opana. What a mess, every time we lower the meth I go through hard times and i wounder if like the other things i tried will Opana just be a temporary fix. Before pain came in to my life I had never used drugs or alcohol. Life really stinks.

anon167782
Post 6

I currently take Percocet 10/325mg with a Soma 350mg four times a day. I sometimes depending on the pain will take two lortab 7.5's with them both to help relieve the pain. I have to be careful though.

I started with 30 lortab tens and then a year or so later i went to 60 a month and a year or so later i went to 90 a month, and then I was in a minor wreck that jarred me and the doc put me on 120 percocet 10/325mg a month, taking it four times a day and I am only in my early twenties. Any thoughts?

Also, the bad thing about pain pills is that you're like a roller coaster -- you go up and feel no pain, then you come down and feel pain. Then you go back up, then back down again. Is there any middle to it?

anon139162
Post 5

You should cite your sources for Alexander the Great's having introduced opium to the Persians and Indians, as that's not in any history on Alexander that I've read. If you got it from Erowid, they don't cite their sources, either.

anon127013
Post 4

You should try Dilaudid for short acting and Opana for long acting pain. Both work great and you have tons of energy to boot.

anon95505
Post 2

I will pray for you. I have no other answers but know you are loved.

Prayers2Heal
Post 1

My body has become tolerant to my dosage of morphine; it doesn’t take away the pain as much anymore. And because I’ve lost so much weight my doctor does not want to increase the dosage. He would rather change the prescription to Oxycontin or Opana. I’ve heard about the celebrity deaths with Oxycontin abuse and that it makes you very sleepy. Opana, on the other hand, is a less sleepy drug and is fairly new on the market. Does anyone have any experience with either of these two medications?

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