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Is Heroin an Opioid?

Is Heroin an Opioid?

Patient talks with treatment professional about opioid use.

Given its rise in popularity over the past few decades, many people have begun to ask, “Is heroin an opioid?” Heroin and similar substances have burst onto the scene of illegal drugs since the turn of the century. They have disrupted or shortened the lives of people nationwide. The best way to stop drugs from upending your life is to learn about them, how they affect us, and how professionals and specialists can treat addictions.

Heroin addiction becomes harder to stop with each use. Getting treatment as soon as possible is essential, even if it seems daunting. Whether you or someone you care about are dealing with heroin addiction, Greater Boston Addiction Centers (GBAC) is here to help. Contact GBAC today at 877.920.6583 or reach out online to learn more about our center for heroin addiction treatment near Boston.

What Are Opioids and Opiates?

Is heroin an opioid? The simple answer is “yes.” Heroin is derived from the same natural substances as other opioids. The more complicated answer requires understanding what an opioid is and what that means for you.

Opioids and opiates are a family of drugs with a common source—the opium poppy plant. The main distinction between the two is that opiates are natural, and opiates have some manufactured components. All opiates and some opioids are naturally derived from opium poppies, but some opioids are completely lab-synthesized. Regardless, opioids and opiates treat pain the same way—by blocking the pain receptors in the brain. Examples of opioids include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Heroin

Some aspects of opioids can be effectively controlled, such as how much pain they can relieve. As the scale slides, the more potent opioids pose an increasingly high risk of addiction. While prescription-level opioids are responsible for most opioid use disorders (OUD), people struggling with OUD often escalate to more dangerous drugs to chase the fleeting high.

Dangers of Heroin Use Disorder

Heroin can become the endpoint for many opioid use disorders that began on simple painkillers prescribed post-surgery. Heroin is multiple times more addictive than other opioids and causes many side effects, some life-altering. Some of the most detrimental effects of heroin use include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nasal damage
  • Vein damage, such as scarring
  • Heart infection
  • Lung complications
  • Liver and kidney disease

It isn’t just the side effects of heroin that present the problem. The effects of abusing heroin boil over into everything—relationships, financial stability, employability, and status as a free citizen. Often, heroin is used to cope with the most strenuous parts of life, but it does little to help. Adding a complication to any problem rarely serves as an improvement.

Heroin is extremely difficult, not to mention hazardous, to quit by yourself. If somebody chooses to quit, they must do so while exposing themselves to the least harm. Professional treatment for heroin addiction focuses on letting patients eliminate the desire for heroin, address the underlying causes of heroin use, and develop the skills needed to live sober.

Find Heroin Use Disorder Treatment at Greater Boston Addiction Centers

People ask, “Is heroin an opioid?” to discover the nature of their addiction or that of their loved one. Learning the danger of heroin abuse, how it works, and how it’s treated makes Massachusetts citizens better equipped to fight heroin addiction. At Greater Boston Addiction Centers, we’re here to support everybody seeking treatment. Our flexible schedule and various therapy programs make you find a treatment plan right. Contact GBAC today at 877.920.6583 or visit us online to speak with someone from our caring and compassionate team of professionals and specialists. We’re here to take the first step alongside you in overcoming heroin use disorder.