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What Are Synthetic Opioids

Synthetic opioids are often stronger – and more potent – than natural ones, making them more dangerous to users.

What Are Synthetic Opioids?

While opioid drugs have proven an excellent addition to medical science due to their effectiveness in the treatment and management of several different kinds of pain conditions, they have the very significant demerit of having a high addiction-causing potential. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), opioid drugs-related deaths account for up to 70% of all drug-related deaths globally, pointing out just how much of a problem the abuse of opioid drugs is today.[1]

Usually, most of the opioids used for those with substance abuse disorders are natural opioids, especially heroin and morphine. However, in recent years, there has been something of a shift toward the abuse of synthetic pain relievers or opioids.  

Synthetic Opioids

How Are Synthetic Opioids Made?

Synthetic opioid drugs, also known as synthetic narcotics, are a class or type of opioid drugs that are made entirely of chemical components in a laboratory. These synthetic narcotics are classified as opioid drugs because they have very similar chemical structures to those of natural and semi-synthetic opioids and elicit the same effects.

It is worth mentioning that some of these synthetic opioids are legal prescription drugs and they are somewhat extensively used as synthetic pain relievers in modern medicine due to their strong analgesic effect. In fact, the synthetic opioid drug class contains some of the strongest opioids ever produced or found. These synthetic drugs examples include synthetic fentanyl, which is one of the strongest opioids with a potency up to one hundred times that of morphine, and tramadol.[2

Are Synthetic Opioids Bad?

However, this high efficacy of these drugs isn’t all good news, as it’s one of the major reasons for an increase in the number of people overdosing on opioids. Overdosing on opioids generally takes excessive opioid use; however, it’s even easier with synthetic opioid drugs like synthetic heroin due to their highly potent effects. 

How Do Synthetic Opioids Work?

Synthetic opioid drugs generally have the same kind of effects as natural opioids, but are more potent. They also follow a similar mechanism of action like those of semi-synthetic and natural opioids. This synthetic mechanism of action involves binding to opioid receptors in the brain and altering the brain’s response to pain, thereby increasing pain tolerance in users. They also cause sedation, one of the synthetic opioids effects known to contribute to a high rate of abuse and addiction to opioids by users.[3]

Common Synthetic Opioids

There are several examples of synthetic opioids, and as earlier mentioned, some of these synthetic opioid drugs are prescription drugs. Common synthetic opioids include:

  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl, also known as Sublimaze, is a synthetic opioid used to take care of severe pain conditions such as pain in patients with cancer. It is one hundred times more powerful than morphine, making it the second most potent opioid.
  • Methadone: Methadone (Dolophine) is a unique and very useful synthetic opioid drug in that, although it is used to treat pain, it is also extensively used to treat opioid use disorder and lessen the effects of opioids on the body during opioid withdrawal treatment.
  • Carfentanil: Carfentanil is recognized as the most powerful synthetic opioid. Carfentanil is so powerful that one unit of it is one hundred times as potent as the same amount of fentanyl! Although it was originally intended for use in veterinary medicine as a tranquilizer for large animals, there are reports that drug dealers mix it with heroin to make an even more powerful drug (synthetic heroin).
  • Tramadol: Tramadol, also known as Ultram, is a synthetic opioid used in treating and managing severe pain due to its significant analgesic effects.

How Do Synthetic Opioids Make You Feel?

As earlier mentioned, synthetic opioids tend to have a similar mechanism of action of opioids as natural and semisynthetic opioids, and as a result of this, they elicit similar effects on people like those other drugs. If you take synthetic opioids, you’ll likely feel the following:

  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Sleepiness

Signs of Opioid Use Disorders

Early detection of opioid use disorders goes a long way and contributes significantly to treatment effectiveness, so it’s important that you’re able to identify the signs and symptoms of opioid sedation if either you or a loved one are starting to feel symptoms. These signs include:

  • Obsessing over acquiring the drug
  • Buying opioids online or from strangers
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Chronic constipation
  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Agitation

Benefits of Synthetic Opioids

People often tend only to see the “negative” side of opioid drug use; however, these opioid drugs (legal opioids) play significant roles in treating and managing pain conditions. Some benefits of synthetic opioids include faster production, higher potency, and lower costs for those who need to take the substances for medical reasons.

Dangers of Synthetic Opioids

Although they are very effective in pain management, even in severe pain conditions, there are several other short-term and long-term effects of opioid use. These dangers are even more serious where synthetic opioids are concerned. Some of the dangers of synthetic opioids include:[5]

  • High risk of overdose
  • Damage to veins
  • Negative effects associated with natural opioids such as addiction, confusion, nausea and vomiting, respiratory depression, and in severe cases, death.

Heal From Synthetic Opioid Addiction at Genesis Recovery

Synthetic Opioids

Are you currently seeking help with synthetic opioid addiction for yourself or your loved ones? If you are, then Genesis Recovery is the perfect place for you. At Genesis Recovery, you will have access to individualized, patient-focused addiction treatment handled and managed by licensed and experienced treatment specialists to ensure you get the kind of quality treatment results you want.

We have many different types of treatment options available, and you or your loved one can work individually with a therapist in order to create a plan that works best for you. Addiction looks different for everyone, meaning that recovery should as well. Plans can include medication-assisted therapy, different types of psychotherapy, or inpatient and outpatient programs as well. Figuring out what works best for you or your loved one is our main priority. Reach out and contact us today, and let’s help you or your loved one heal from synthetic opioid addiction.


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