What’s the Difference Between an Opioid and an Opiate? 5 Quick Facts About Prescription Painkillers and Fentanyl

Opioid Facts

In recent years, the opioid crisis has taken a devastating toll on communities across the United States, including Florence, SC. Prescription painkillers and fentanyl, in particular, have been at the forefront of this epidemic. While you may have heard these pills called opioids and opiates interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Not all painkillers are created equally. In this blog we’ll dive into five crucial facts about prescription painkillers, look into how they are destroying southern communities, and discuss how to help someone struggling with opioid addiction. 

Fact 1: Prescription Painkillers & Fentanyl Are Highly Addictive

Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, are all prescription painkillers commonly prescribed to manage moderate-to-severe pain. These meds, while effective for pain relief, have a high potential for addiction due to their impact on the brain's reward system. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is even more potent—up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is often prescribed for severe pain management, particularly in cancer patients, but its potency also makes it extremely dangerous and wildly addictive. 

Fact 2: The Difference Between Opioids & Opiates

The terms "opioids" and "opiates" are often used in place of one another, but they have distinct meanings. Opiates are naturally derived from the opium poppy plant and include substances like morphine and codeine. Opioids, on the other hand, are a broader category that includes opiates as well as synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. While both types interact with opioid receptors in the brain to relieve pain, their origins and chemical structures differ. Synthetic opioids can be chemically altered to increase their painkilling properties but this also increases their potency and potential for addiction. 

Fact 3: Increasing Prevalence of Fentanyl in Illicit Drugs

While Fentanyl is prescribed legally, it is also manufactured illicitly and mixed with other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The majority of the overdoses and deaths you hear on the news related to fentanyl are due to this surge of unregulated, illegal fentanyl. Mixing fentanyl with other drugs significantly increases the risk of overdose, as users are unaware of the presence of this deadly drug. Even a small amount of fentanyl can be lethal, leading to a surge in overdose deaths. 

Fact 4: Rising Number of Opioid-Related Deaths & Overdoses

The opioid epidemic in this country has led to a staggering increase in the number of deaths and overdoses related to opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 75% of drug overdose deaths in 2022 involved an opioid. The widespread availability of prescription painkillers, along with the infiltration of illicit fentanyl into the drug supply, has exacerbated the situation, resulting in a public health emergency. 

Fact 5: The Importance of Seeking Professional Treatment

Opioid addiction is no joke. It is a complex and chronic condition that requires professional intervention and medical treatment. At Owl's Nest Recovery in Florence, SC, we understand the challenges associated with overcoming opioid addiction. Our comprehensive treatment programs are designed to address the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of addiction. We offer personalized care, individual and group therapy, and holistic approaches to support long-term recovery. We know what addiction is like because most of us have been through it and found recovery on the other side. 

A Call for Action

Opioid addiction is a serious and life-threatening condition, but recovery is possible. Owl's Nest Recovery is dedicated to providing comprehensive, individualized care to those battling substance abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, don't wait. Reach out to us today and take the first step towards hope.


The Owls Nest


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