University Health and Counseling Services

FAQs Related To Opiates & Opioids

What drugs are considered opiates or opioids?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

Opiates are derived from the Opium Poppy which include Morphine, Codeine, and Heroin.  Opioids that are synthetic or semi synthetic  include Methadone, Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin (oxycodone), Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab (hydrocodone), Demerol (pethidine), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), Duragesic (fentanyl) are Opioids.

The term Opioids is now used to describe the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Hydrocodone
  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Surgeon General's Spotlight on Opioids


What are some of the effects of opioid use?

The Short Term Effects from opioids include: feelings of euphoria, pain relief, drowsiness, and sedation.

The Common Side Effects include drowsiness, lethargy, respiratory depression, nausea and paranoia.

The Long Term Effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal distention and bloating
  • Constipation
  • Liver damage (especially prevalent in misuse of drugs that combine opiates with acetaminophen)
  • Brain damage due to hypoxia, resulting from respiratory depression
  • Development of tolerance
  • Dependence, often leading to Opioid Use Disorder

National Institute for Drug Abuse: Opioids


Why are opioids so addictive?

Watch this short video [01:54]: Science Says: Why Are Opioids So Addictive


How can I learn more about the risk of overdose and overdose response?

Remember that in the state of Maine, anyone who tells a medical provider that they know someone who uses opioids can be prescribed Narcan, a lifesaving and safe medication which can reverse an overdose.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

Nearly Half Opioid Related Overdose Deaths Involve Fetanyl

Preventing Opioid Overdose CDC Tip Card


Are there effective treatments for opioid use disorder?

Medication-Assisted Treatment Improves Outcomes for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder