Opiates are drugs that are derived from the opium of the poppy plant, a plant commonly found throughout parts of Asia, the Middle East, and South America. Opiates are used medicinally for their painkilling properties.

Millions of people throughout the world are addicted to opiates. Within the United States, opiates make up some of the most sought-after substances of abuse. As a result, many Americans are struggling with opiate addiction and the many effects of it.

Types of Opiates

Several different opiates are legal and can be prescribed by a health care provider. Others are illegal and can only be found through dealers on the black market. Some of the most common opiates include the following:


Morphine is derived directly from the poppy plant, as it is a naturally occurring opiate. It is indicated to treat pain and used in professional healthcare settings to manage pain in patients. However, it is widely abused illegally by many. – common symptoms of morphine addiction include dilated pupils, slurred speech, shallow breathing, and problems concentrating.


Heroin is derived from morphine. It is a semisynthetic opiate, however, as it is often mixed with products such as sugar, baking soda, and starch. In 2016, is was estimated that nearly 630,000 people in the U.S. were addicted to heroin. Heroin is often injected and causes individuals to experience euphoric effects including a rush of pleasure, detachment from one’s surroundings, and sedation.


Demerol is a synthetic opiate, as it simply mimics the effects of naturally occurring opiates. This medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain in those who struggle with a number of physical conditions ranging from cancer to end-stage diseases. When abused, Demerol (meperidine) use canresult in shallow breathing, disorientation, kidney problems, and seizures.

Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

While each type of opiate can produce its own unique symptoms, many of the symptoms associated with opiate addiction are the same. When an individual is addicted to opiates, regardless of if they are naturally occurring or not, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep problems
  • Dilated pupils
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Poor coordination
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Opiate Overdose

The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic, which includes those individuals who abuse opiates. When addicted to opiates, an individual must continually increase their dose in order to feel the effects and thereby increase their risk of an overdose. Moreover, at some point, his or her body will become unable to process the amount of opiates he or she has consumed.

Someone who is overdosing on opiates can experience the following:

  • Delirium
  • Consistent vomiting
  • Clammy skin that has a bluish tint around mouth and fingertips
  • Breathing problems
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sporadic loss of consciousness

If someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Our center offers outpatient treatment custom-tailored to defeat opioid addiction. Using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach, our experienced staff can help sufferers regain the life they once had.

From detox to behavioral therapy, counseling, and aftercare, we provide a full range of services to ensure that patients are given the tool they need to recover and lead happy, fulfilled lives.

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