[Morphine](http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682133.html) is well known, potent opiate analgesic that is made from opium. It is very effective and widely used in medical settings. The drug works by binding to opiate receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system which causes a reduction in pain signals and a lowering of the perception of pain. In addition, the drug causes a general improvement in mood.
Morphine belongs to a large group of drugs referred to as narcotics. There are four principal types of narcotics:
* Analgesics (pain killing drugs)
* Hypnotics (sleep inducing drugs)
* Anesthetics (unconsciousness inducing drugs)
* Sedatives (soothing drugs)
Administered in proper doses and at the appropriate time, [morphine is able to act as any of the four categories](https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/bulletin/bulletin_1956-01-01_1_page005.html). Morphine has many different side effects that include drowsiness, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, headaches, agitation, chills, stiffness of muscles, double vision, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, swelling of arms or legs and seizures. It should only ever be taken under supervision of a medical practitioner.
Synthetic morphine substitutes are very similar in chemical properties and effects to morphine. In some cases, morphine is the precursor to other opioids. They have the ability to treat pain, induce sleep and sooth the mind while also causing some of the same side effects. They are also cheaper to produce and more readily available than pure opium or morphine. However, they are also highly addictive and have the same prevalence of abuse as morphine and other opiate drugs such as heroin.
[Dilaudid](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydromorphone) is the name for a potent semi-synthetic opiate drug that is commonly known as hydromorphone. It is a centrally acting analgesic that is a derivative of morphine. It is used as an alternative to morphine for pain relief and in the treatment of severe bronchial irritation or other chronic lung or chest infections. Dilaudid, like other synthetic opiates, is a drug with a high abuse and addiction potential. Although it is considered to have a less dependence level compared to other opiate drugs, it is believed to be 6-8 times stronger than morphine.
Dilaudid is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and is more commonly prescribed due to the less severe side effects and speed at which the drug begins to work. Common side effects reported include dose-related respiratory depression, light-headedness, dizziness, itching, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Overdose is possible with hydromorphone, particularly in the case of combining the medication with other drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Abuse of dialudid occurs due to the powerful euphoria that the drug may illicit in individuals. This is similar to the reaction experienced with other opiate drugs like heroin. Like other opiates, dilaudid inhibits the pain receptors in the brain and alters pain perception. It is taken in oral or liquid form and can be injected intra-muscularly or intravenously. The temptation of experiencing the positive effects of the drug can be too hard to resist for some people and they will begin to take the drug more frequently and at higher doses, which leads to tolerance and addiction.
Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeineone is a semi-synthetic opiate. Commonly sold under the brand name [Vicodin](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/vicodin-abuse/), this medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This is a commonly prescribed and highly addictive drug. In 2010, it was the most prescribed medication in America with over 130 million prescriptions written for the drug.
[Hydrocodone](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000014/) can be dangerous to take in repeated or high doses due to the presence of other substances in the medication. These other substances include paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin which can cause damage to the liver when taken in big doses. In addition, it can interact with other drugs including alcohol when used in combination. This can lead to an increase in the risk of overdose or health complications.
[Oxycodone](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/oxycodone/) or dihydrohydrooxycodeineone is a semi-synthetic opiate that has properties similar to codeine. It is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic with effective pain relief properties and is widely prescribed for moderate and severe pain but has been found to be notoriously addictive. Sold under the band names Percocet, Percodan, Oxycontin, Roxicodone and Oxynorm, the drug has increased in recreational use over recent years. The drug can cause people to feel relaxed, sleepy, euphoric, have reduced anxiety and pain. The drug has high levels of psychological and physical addiction and tolerance to the drug is easily developed.
Users can experience a large number of varied side effects from oxycodone. These include pupil constriction, slowed reaction times, impaired thinking and confusion, nausea, headaches, nervousness, fatigue, constipation and abdominal pain. In some cases, people may experience seizures, blackouts, and respiratory depression. The drug should always be taken with care and caution.
Dangers of Opiate Drugs
Opiates give people a highly pleasurable feeling when they take the drug and this is no different for synthetic or semi-synthetic opiates. Initially a person may be prescribed the drug to treat pain or other medical problems but because of the reactions they illicit – powerful feelings of relaxation and warmth – the temptation to take more is very high. These desires can lead to strong cravings and tolerance developing. With tolerance comes dependence and that is when an addiction will take over a person’s body and life. Many people do not even realize that this has happened until they begin to feel the negative effects when they stop taking the drug.
Many people who take vicodin, oxycontin or dilaudid are not aware of the addiction risks associated with these types of drugs. A doctor will typically only prescribe opiates for short term management of pain or discomfort due to the addiction potential. Chronic pain is very difficult to manage and because of the development of tolerance to the effects, person may begin to take more of the drug and begin to seek out other doctors to prescribe them the medication.
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