About Opiates

The term opiate refers to the alkaloids (nitrogen containing organic compounds) found in opium, which is extracted from the seed pods of the opium poppy plant.

TraditionOpiate Addiction Pillsally and colloquially, the term opiate referred to the derivatives of morphine. However, the broader term ‘opioid’ is the more appropriate term that encompasses all drugs, both natural and synthetic, with opium or morphine-like pharmacological action.

The primary opiates derived from opium are morphine, codeine and thebaine. These are narcotics, used for their analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Opiates act as CNS (Central Nervous System) depressants.


Prolonged use of any opiates eventually changes the brain in fundamental and lasting ways, which explains why addicts cannot simply quit without professional help. This is why treatment is essential. Drugs of abuse take over the brain’s normal pleasure and motivational systems, advancing the drug use to the highest priority in the individual’s motivational hierarchy, thus overriding all other motivations and drives. These brain changes are responsible for the compulsion to seek/use drugs, which is defined as addiction.

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