In 2021, 107,622 Americans lost their lives to a drug overdose. Of these, opioid overdose was responsible for more than 70,000 deaths. For context, this is roughly twice the number of accidental casualties each year!
Unfortunately, doctor prescriptions are the major reason for the current state of the opioid epidemic that affects 2.7 million people. Research shows 4 out of 5 opioid use disorders begin with a prescription opioid. This is unsurprising given that 43% of all doctor prescriptions in the U.S. contain opioids. In other countries, this number is almost twice that.
This article will dissect two types of opioids, synthetic and semi-synthetic, as well as answer all of your questions about them. Read on to learn more.
What are Opioids and How do they Work?
Opioids are a medication class that structurally resembles the natural plant derivatives of the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum). They act by binding to specific receptors (in the brain and spinal cord) and suppressing signal transmissions between different parts of the body. This is how opioids relieve pain and cause feelings of euphoria.