Fake marijuana. Synthetic cocaine. Synthetic opioid. It seems that just about any drug that comes from a natural source, people also create through chemistry. And the market embraces it. But what’s the real difference between synthetic opioids vs natural opioids? Are they equally addictive and dangerous? Could either one lead you down a path toward an intensive outpatient program? Here’s what you need to know.
Synthetic Opioids Vs Natural Opioids: How They’re Made
Natural opioids vs synthetic opioids primarily comes down to where they come from. Natural opioids come from opium. That’s a sticky substance that people extract from the seeds of an opium poppy. According to the DEA, opium poppies thrive in warm, dry climates. Historians believe that these plants were first cultivated for “drug use” in Ancient Mesopotamia (Modern Southwest Asia) around 3400 BC. The Egyptians soon adopted the use of the plant. Then after that, use spread to China and India. Opium-derived products soon traveled around the world.
Synthetic opioids are created in a lab. That lab could be a pharmaceutical facility. Or it may be someone’s home kitchen. Those who create synthetic opioids apply their knowledge of chemistry to create a substance that has a very similar composition to a natural opiate.
Which Opioids Are Synthetic Vs Natural?
When exploring synthetic opioids vs natural opioids, you may be wondering, which is which. The answer may surprise you.
Doctors use both natural and synthetic opioids to treat pain. And both kinds can be found in street drugs.
Some of those natural opioids include:
Then you have synthetic ones such as:
Now that we’ve distinguished between natural opioids vs synthetic opioids, let’s look at how they impact the body.
Do Synthetics Impact the Body Differently?
Actually, doctors created heroin in the late 1700s. They already had a powerful painkiller at their disposal called morphine. But they knew how addictive morphine was. They, therefore, wanted to create something that stopped pain but didn’t cause dependence. As you already know, they didn’t succeed.
The saga continues to this day. Many of the prescription opiates we have today were initially created by well-meaning scientists who wanted to help people with pain. Over the past several decades, some synthetic opioids have been presented as safer. But if there’s one thing the “Opioid Crisis” has made clear, it’s that all opiates are addictive and even weak ones can lead to more risky usage.
Oral opiates hit the brain more slowly. But the body naturally builds up a tolerance. You need higher and higher doses to feel the same feeling. That’s why so many people who begin taking prescription opiates move on to heroin.
Another aspect to consider when looking at synthetic opioids vs natural opioids is potency. Synthetic opioids like heroin and fentanyl are two to ten times stronger than legally-prescribed drugs. And on top of that, there’s little quality control during street production. Because of that, people buying these drugs on the street may end up with a very inconsistent product that could kill them even if they’re being careful.
The sooner you stop the cycle, the better.
How Crestview Recovery Treats Opioid Abuse
Natural opioids vs synthetic opioids — it doesn’t matter which one you’re using. They’re both addictive. They can both be deadly. But you can overcome opioid addiction through treatment.
As a Joint Commission-accredited treatment center, Crestview Recovery helps those in the Pacific Northwest who are suffering with addiction find a new life in recovery. Our evidence-based treatments help you start putting the pieces back together and learning skills to manage cravings. In fact, through treatment, you can find lasting healing.
Our adventure therapy program helps you learn more about who you are what you have to live for. Experience life through exciting activities like skiing, snowboarding, and whitewater rafting. Additionally, you’ll work with a compassionate team of professionals who can help you understand your addiction and begin planning your life in recovery.
We offer customized programs such:
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Gender-specific treatment
- Family therapy program
- Extended care program
Whether you’re struggling with synthetic or natural opioids, we’re prepared to help you get onto the recovery path. Contact us as 866.262.0531 to learn more.