Opiods and opiates are chemicals that affect the body by binding to the opiod receptors in the central nervous system. The most commonly used opiates, which are naturally occurring alkaloids of the opium poppy, are morphine and codeine. Semi-synthetic opiods include heroin and oxycodone (also known by the brand name OxyContin). Methadone, used as a substitute for heroin, is a fully synthetic opiod. Percodan, Percocet, Darvocet, Dilaudid and Vicodin are also considered to be opiates.
Opiod and opiates are chemically similar to naturally occurring endorphins, the “feel good” substance the body produces. These substances may be prescribed medications for pain management, or they may be abused as street drugs. In either scenario, dependence develops quickly and withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Acute withdrawal symptoms can include pain, vomiting, diarrhea and panic attacks. Once the acute symptoms have passed, there may be a period of depression and anxiety that can last for months.
Overdose is a major issue with any opiod or opiate. Since street drugs are often cut, it is impossible to know what dosage you might be taking. That means there is no such thing as a safe dose, especially once you have developed a tolerance that leads to larger dosage.
Where to Find an Opiate Detox Program
While there may be some addictive substances that can be kicked “cold turkey,” opiates are not among them. The withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that a medically supervised opiate detox program is really a necessity. There are several approaches to opiate detox, including those that substitute methadone or other synthetics as a means of weaning the addict off the organic substance.
You can find opiate detox centers by using the “Heroin/OxyContin Treatment” filter under “Programs by Drug” or by clicking “Detox Centers” under “Treatment Phases.” If you are interested in methadone treatment, you will find methadone clinics under “Special Focus Programs.”