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Addiction Treatment in New Jersey | What is an Opioid?

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By April 11, 2018
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Over the years, the opioid epidemic has hit an all-time high. It’s hard to turn on the news or read the newspaper without hearing or reading a story involving opioids. Let’s take a look at what opioids are and why misusing them can be dangerous and lead to addiction treatment in New Jersey.

What Is an Opioid?

An opioid is a synthetic form of an opiate. The most common “street drug” opioid is heroin. Other common types of prescription opioids include OxyContin, hydrocodone, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine.

Opioid drugs bind to opioid receptors on cells in the brain and throughout the body. Some of those cells control a person’s digestion, pain, and other functions. Opioids dull a person’s perception of pain, which is why they are frequently prescribed to people recovering from serious injury or surgery. The feeling that it produces can make it addicting, even after the pain has stopped. Opioids also affect the brain’s pleasure system, which can lead to a euphoric or high feeling.

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What’s the Difference Between Heroin and Prescription Opioids?

While many prescription opioids are designed to affect you more gradually, heroin creates an instant extreme high that lasts for a short period of time. That’s because it is taken either by snorting or injection, allowing it to enter the body and brain at the same time. People that find themselves getting addicted to their prescription opioids tend to gravitate to heroin over time because it is cheaper is easier to get since a prescription isn’t needed.

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If you or someone you know is in need of treatment, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options that we offer.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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