What Are Opioids Used For?

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Opioids are prescription painkillers used to ease pain and relax the body. These medications are commonly abused, which can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

What Are Opioids Used For?

Opioids are most commonly used as medications to manage chronic pain or pain after a surgery or dental procedure. Sometimes, opioids are used to treat chronic coughs or diarrhea.

These medications work by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, which block pain signals.

Opioids also affect the central nervous system, which calms down the body. When abused, opioids make a person feel excessively calm, relaxed, and euphoric.

Effects Caused By Opioid Use

Whether opioids are used for medical reasons or are abused, they cause immediate effects on the mind and body.

Typical effects of opioid use include:

  • nausea
  • euphoria
  • slowed breathing
  • slowed heart rate
  • drowsiness
  • confusion

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Commonly Abused Opioids

Prescription opioids can be fully synthetic or synthesized from natural opiates present in the opium poppy.

Prescription opioids that are abused include medications like:

  • codeine
  • fentanyl
  • morphine
  • hydrocodone
  • oxycodone

Non-prescription, illegal opiates include:

  • heroin
  • opium (uncommon)

Getting Help For Opioid Abuse

Even when used as directed by a doctor, opioid use can lead to addiction and dependence. If you or a loved one abuse any kind of opioid, it is important to address the issue head-on.

Call our addiction helpline for more information on the best treatment options. For medical detox and supervision, inpatient rehab facilities can provide a safe environment.

Both outpatient and inpatient treatment can offer the necessary structure and therapies for successful opioid rehabilitation.

Call today to get started.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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