When you hear the term “narcotics”, specific images come to mind. A drug bust. People producing drugs in a warehouse or selling on the street. Depending on the context, you may or may not believe that opiates fall into the same category. But answering: Are opiates narcotics?, helps us make sense of the opioid crisis, opioid addiction, and opioid treatment.
Through understanding, you can get informed and know when group therapy or another treatment program may be a smart move for you or your loved one.
What Are Narcotics?
A narcotic is a broad classification of drugs (both legal and illegal) that cause pain relief by putting someone into a mental stupor. This mental state is called “narcosis”.
That may not sound like something you’re interested in. But consider if you were in a car accident where you received third-degree burns over most of your body.
You would want doctors to give you something for the pain. But what if the only way to stop the pain was to limit brain function temporarily so that pain signals stop? This is why scientists developed narcotics.
Are Opiates Narcotics?
So are opiates narcotics? Yes. Opioids are a sub-category of drugs that fight pain by causing “narcosis”. The difference between opiates vs narcotics comes down to classification. They do the same thing because they are related.
Opiates refer to a narcotic that comes from the seeds of an opium poppy plant. Such is the case with morphine. Or they are made by people to be chemically similar to the natural opiates. Synthetic (human-made) opiates include:
- Prescription opiate pills
Both natural and synthetic opioids are highly addictive.
Opiates Vs Narcotics: What’s in a Name?
In business, when a term starts to be seen negatively, a company or industry will change the word they use to one that people don’t find bad. For example, when people in the US became especially concerned with the health risks of eating fried foods, McDonald’s began calling their fried chicken sandwich the “crispy chicken sandwich.” Many other fast food places made similar moves with “breaded, “crunchy”, and “homestyle”.
The sandwich didn’t get any healthier. But the change in wording made it “feel” healthier than a “fried” sandwich.
This has happened with opiates vs narcotics over the past 20-25 years. Because the word “narcotic” makes most people think of illegal drugs, the medical and pharmaceutical industries began using the term “opioid” more frequently when talking with patients and other doctors.
As a result, many patients–and some doctors–were less likely to think negatively about opiates and their risks. But changing what we call something doesn’t change its true nature.
Opioids are just as dangerous as narcotics because they are narcotics. Ironically, the term “opioid” is now just as poorly-viewed as “narcotic” was 20-30 years ago to many people.
Opioids, even ones given to you by a doctor, are highly addictive. 75% of people who abuse opioids first got them from a doctor. So in reality, there isn’t much difference between using heroin and abusing prescription opioids.
Addiction to Narcotics Vs Opioid Abuse
If you were addicted to narcotics, you’d know immediately that you need to get into rehab. The same is true if you’re abusing opioids. This fact doesn’t change just because a doctor prescribed them.
If your opioid abuse is beginning to affect your family, finances, health, career, or happiness; and you’re unable to stop on your own, you need the support of addiction professionals.
How Crestview Recovery Helps Those with Opioid Addiction
Crestview Recovery serves guests in the Pacific Northwest. We offer the complete spectrum of evidence-based treatments in several programs designed to meet your unique needs. These include programs like:
We offer these and other personalized programs in the partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and regular outpatient settings. As a Joint Commission-accredited center, we’re very proud of our adventure therapy program where guests grow and learn through engaging in fun activities like skiing and white water rafting.
Are opiates narcotics? Yes. They absolutely are. And if they’ve taken over your life, it’s time to get the help you need to get onto the path to recovery. Call us: 866.262.0531 to learn more.