Opiate vs. Opioid - What is the difference between Opiate and Opioid?

These terms seem to be used interchangeably.

asked 12 May '12, 15:06

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Prescription Drugs

Among prescription drugs, opioids (synthetic opiates) are pain killers, and among the most popular prescription drugs.



Opiates have powerful analgesic effects, and are widely synthesized for use in drugs



Heroin is the most popular opiate, and a Schedule I narcotic under the Federal laws of the United States (no medicinal purpose, highly abused).



Fentanyl, sufentanyl, and Carfentanil are showing up as deadly additives in street heroin, so "opioids" has been tagged fentanyl for reference.


Heroin Detox

Prescription pain medications, fentanyl, suboxone, and heroin are all opiates or opioids (natural or synthetic). Heroin detox is specifically designed for detox off heroin. although the chemical basis of heroin addiction is the same as opiate/opioid addiction.

An opiate is a substance derived from the poppy plant (which contains opium). Opiates are sometimes called "natural" since the active ingredient molecules are made by nature, not manufactured by chemical synthesis. Common opiates include morphine and codeine, both made directly from poppy plants.

An opioid is a substance (molecule) that is synthetic or partly synthetic, meaning the active ingredients (molecules) are manufactured via chemical synthesis. Opioids may act just like opiates in the human body, because of the similar molecules.

opiate - narcotic analgesic derived from a opium poppy (natural)

opioid - narcotic analgesic that is at least part synthetic, not found in nature

The terms are often used interchangeably. On the street, "heroin" may mean synthetic, natural, or semi-synthetic compounds. Manufactured opioids like Oxycontin are sometimes called "synthetic heroin", also adding to the confusion. Genuine "heroin" as originally formulated is technically considered an opioid, since it is chemically manufactured, although molecules from the opium plant are used in the process. Some of heroin's active ingredient molecules are not found in nature.

Currently many references are using opioid to refer to all opium-like substances (including opiates and opioids), and limiting the use of "opiates" to only natural opium poppy derived drugs like morphine.


answered 14 May '12, 15:39

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The latest trend is illegal synthetic chemical compounds made in China and illegally smuggled into Canada, Mexico, or the US to be sold as an additiive to street heroin. By modifying fentanyl or acetyl fentanyl or sudefentanyl, they create drugs like carfentanyl, thousands of times more powerful (as a sedative) than morphine or heroin. It kills the user, by simply sedating them into such a deep state they stop breathing and suffocate while unconscious.


There is a good picture of black tar heroin (Mexican heroin) on the heroin detox page at https://sunrisedetoxftlauderdale.com/heroin-detox/

(04 Nov '17, 18:29) admin ♦♦
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For help with Opiates, Opioids, or Heroin Addiction

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Sunrise Detox is a licensed, award-winning treatment center providing medical detox for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction in New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida. Sunrise Detox and many of the staff at Sunrise Detox centers in New Jersey and Florida have contributed to the questions & answers on this site, and Sunrise Detox is a strong supporter of our efforts to help people learn the facts about addiction and addiction treatment. Some of us have personal experience with Sunrise Detox, and we recommend them highly.

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Asked: 12 May '12, 15:06

Seen: 248,664 times

Last updated: 04 Nov '17, 18:29