Young woman talking to a mental health professional

Opioids vs. Opiates

The Distinction Between Opioids and Opiates

When it comes to drug abuse and addiction, opioid and opiate abuse is becoming increasingly common and is an epidemic sweeping the nation. Although these terms tend to be used interchangeably, there are fundamental differences between them.


Opioids are synthetic drugs that were created in a lab. They were created to activate the opioid receptors in the brain, which are responsible for feelings of both pleasure and pain. Triggering changes to these receptors can affect a person’s:

  • Stress levels
  • Pain levels
  • Respiratory rate
  • Temperature
  • Mood

When it comes to opioids, people aren’t typically using the drug recreationally when they become addicted. More often than not, they were prescribed medication by their doctor to help manage the symptoms associated with chronic pain.

Some examples of opioids include:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone


Opiates, on the other hand, are drugs that are derived from the naturally occurring poppy plant and its seeds. While opiates can be prescribed by doctors to treat mild to severe pain, their calming nature translates to high rates of abuse and addiction.

Some examples of opiates include:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

While the key difference between opioids and opiates is how they are made, both are highly addictive drugs that can lead to prescription drug abuse and addiction issues. When taking either drug, be sure to follow your prescription as it is written to prevent misuse.

Seeking Help at The Good Life Treatment Center

At The Good Life Treatment Center, we’re a different kind of treatment center—we believe in the treatment and recovery of the body, mind, and spirit. We’re committed to working with you to help remove the burdens of shame and guilt that addiction so often brings. We think there’s a better, freer way to live life.

To learn more about the opioid addiction treatment services available at The Good Life Treatment Center, call (561) 250-8552 or reach out to us online today!


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