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What is an Opioid

What is an Opiod

Opioids are drugs that are either derived from opiates (drugs created directly from opium, such as morphine or codeine) or are chemically related to opiates or opium. Examples of opioids include some prescription painkillers (such as oxycodone,hydrocodone, buprenorphine, methadone, and heroin).

What Is Opioid Dependence?

An individual is generally considered opioid-dependent when 2 things occur:

  • Repeated opioid use is needed in order to feel good or avoid feeling bad, and
  • The opioid use continues in spite of its negative effects. For example, people who are opioid-dependent will feel a need to keep using opioids even if it hurts their health, job, finances, or family.

People with a clinical need for pain relief should not be transferred to Suboxone. SUBOXONE is not indicated for the treatment of pain.

  1. Dopamine is released and produces pleasurable feelings (+).
  2. As the opioid leaves the receptors,pleasurable feelings subside and possible cravings and withdrawal symptoms (-) begin.

What Are Common Characteristics of Opiate Addiction?

  • Opioid tolerance (the need to take more drug to get the same effect,or getting less effect from the same amount of the drug)
  • Withdrawal symptoms occur when opioids are not used – Taking other drugs to help relieve the symptoms
  • Taking larger amounts of opioids than planned and for longer periods of time
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to quit
  • Spending a lot of time and effort to obtain, use, and recover from opioid use
  • Giving up or reducing social or recreational activities; missing work
  • Continued opioid use regardless of negative consequences

Patients displaying 3 or more of the above in a 12-month period are considered opioid-dependent.

Is Opioid Dependence a Medical Condition?

Opioids, such as some prescription pain medications or heroin, attach to opioid receptors in the brain, which stimulate the release of dopamine and produce pleasurable feelings. When the opioid eventually detaches from the receptors,people experience withdrawal and cravings and have a strong need to repeat the experience. Drug use often begins as a choice, but frequent use can cause the brain cells to change the way they work. The brain is “re-set” to think that the drug is necessary for survival. Researchers have discovered that many drugs, including opioids, cause long-term changes in the brain. These changes can cause people to have cravings years after they stop taking drugs.

Can Opioid Dependence Affect Behavior?

The need to satisfy cravings or avoid withdrawal can be so intense that people who want to stop taking opioids find this difficult to do. Or, they may find themselves doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to obtain more of the drug they crave. For this reason, even though opiate addiction is a medical condition and not a moral failing, it can drive behavior.


Pat Moore Foundation’s alcohol & drug addiction treatment programs are licensed and certified by The State of California. Pat Moore Foundation patients have access to opiate and opioid detoxification provided by a third party medical corporation that uses suboxone for the detoxification process. Our individual homes are on a unique co-ed campus where we offer gender specific treatment. We are located in Costa Mesa, in Orange County, Southern California, close to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and only an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and San Diego. To speak with a counselor, please call us 24-hours at the number above, or if you’d like us to contact you, send a confidential message online by filling out our online form.

Note: All medical services are administered by medical professionals, which are facilitated and operated solely under the jurisdiction of a separate medical corporation.