For thousands of years, the human population has gotten by without the use of pharmaceuticals. Certainly there were hoards of people that suffered from mental disorders or severe pain but weren’t able to do anything about it. Right? Well mental is one thing, but pain is another. It is without question that some people require certain medications to get by functioning, and there is nothing wrong with that. Of course, there wasn’t an option for depression, anxiety, or Bipolar Disorder back in the day(depending how far you go back), Sadly, people with personality disorders were likely to just be deemed insane.
As for the people in pain, there was alcohol, and there was opiates. Opiates have been around since the beginning of modern civilization as far as we can tell. There are dated recordings of opium/opiate usage all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia(as far as we know). Opioids would not begin to make their appearances until the early 1900s.
Opiates and opioids play a humongous role in our existential quest for existence. If you think about it, the tiny little poppy seed derivatives help to restore balance and cause chaos. They’re a means of pain relief for some, a way to make money for some more, and they’re the reason to even get out of bed for others. In today’s world, an unfathomable amount of our human population is wrongly prescribed unnecessary opioids. A vast mainstream of those people described are handed bottle after bottle and told that putting this mask on will help their problem. The rest of the population is copping dope(opiates) off the streets. The resulting epidemic is catastrophic. Herein lies both the similarities and differences when it comes to opiates vs opioids.
Both opiates as well as opioids are derived from the infamous poppy seed. Opiates tend to show up closer to the natural state of the poppy while opioids contain a little more science behind them. Of course generally speaking, nothing is natural about opiates- they’ve just had less done to create the intended narcotic. It’d be like comparing saturated fats to trans fats. They both taste good, but one is worse than the other, and they’ll both kill you over time. A few of the most well known opiates out there are:
These are classified as illicit substances in most countries or regions. They can be unpredictable in quality because they have the potential to be tampered or mixed with other substances. A number of people have turned to heroin in recent years due to the national crackdown on opioids and the supply/demand not waning. In some areas you can find the mixed combination of opiates and opioids with many heroin dealers cutting their heroin with strong versions of opioids like Fentanyl. Due to this, it would be difficult to determine which is more responsible for all the overdose deaths occurring as of late. Opiates and opioids are both a dive into the unknown.
Then you have opioids, the Frankenstein of opiates. They are just the poppy seeds broken down in a laboratory, then synthesized to create a mind numbing drug that can be distributed without repercussion(at least that seems to be the underlying intention). They are the mimicked idea of opiates.
Supposedly distributed for purpose of pain relief, they are over prescribed by doctors around the globe repeatedly and become heavily abused because of this. A list of the most common versions of these chemically processed poppies might include:
The prevalence of these is linked to the same prevalence of more overdose deaths. Prescription death is you will. Yet between opiates and opioids, it’s gotten to a point where it is now required for law enforcement, EMTs, and Firefighters to start carrying Narcan with them regularly. Narcan is an opiate/opioid overdose reversal drug. It is a synthetic opioid in itself but has a different reaction on the brain than the ones that are zombifying the masses. It helps to bring somebody back who is on their way out the door from a lethal dose of their drug du jour. Opiates and opioids will kill you, if that hasn’t been made clear yet.
For the record, there plenty of alternatives to opiates and opioids. Whether in recovery or just simply choose not to pollute your body with the pharmaceutical garbage of America, there are plenty of non-narcotic options such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, and Tylenol for starters. These usually work for minor pain or minor injuries.
On the other hand, in large doses over time, Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) can take their own toll on our insides. For this reason, some people prefer to stay away from the chemicals all together. Understandably. Depending on the type of pain and location, there are also heating pads and ice packs that can be purchased to relieve inflammation or discomfort. Physical therapy may even be an option for some if necessary. These things won’t always be our saving grace, but they will create safer outcomes than opiates and opioids could ever. If all else fails, it may be best to consult a doctor and look thoroughly into what options can be provided. Pain hurts, but opiates and opioids will only make that pain worse. They’re the bandages we lean on for permanence, never curing a thing. Beware.