Opioids, opium, and opiates are all derived or synthesized from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Each of these drugs has different characteristics, uses, and effects on the body. Whereas raw opium comes directly from the plant (generally the pod), opiates (e.g., morphine and heroin) are refined from opium, and opioids (e.g., hydrocodone and methadone) are synthetic derivatives (Table 1) of morphine. Many opioids are used medically; for example, methadone and buprenorphine are used for detoxification, and oxymorphone is prescribed for anxiety due to shortness of breath. However, the most common medical use for opioids is for pain management.

Table 1 Common Opioids and Opiates With Category, Trade, and Street Names
Drug Name (Generic)CategoryTrade NameStreet Name
DiacetylmorphineSemisynthetic opioidHeroinSmack, tar, China white, shit
HydrocodoneSemisynthetic opioidVicodin
HydromorphoneSemisynthetic opioidDilaudidPerc
MeperidineFully synthetic opioidDemerol, Mepergan
MethadoneFully synthetic ...
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