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10 Commonly Abused Opium Derivatives

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Codeine is an alkaloid that is extracted from the opium produced from the poppy plant. Codeine is a painkiller that has sedative properties, and is used in prescription drugs, such as Vicodin, and cough syrups.


Morphine, like codeine, is an alkaloid that is extracted from opium, and is highly used in the medical field to help people manage their pain. Morphine is commonly administered in hospitals through an IV, to subside a person’s pain. However, morphine is also used to make heroin, which is an illegal narcotic drug.


According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, the structure of oxycodone is similar to codeine, and is almost as potent as morphine. Oxycodone works on a person’s body through the central nervous system by altering the user’s sense of pain and their emotional response to pain.

Oxycodone is the most powerful prescription painkiller, and it is not time released, so when a person takes the drug, its onset is quick-acting and very powerful.



Many prescription painkillers are derivatives of the opium poppy.

OxyContin is one of the most commonly known prescription painkillers that people abuse and develop addictions to. OxyContin is the same as Oxycodone, except OxyContin is time released, which means it slowly is released into a person’s system when they take the pill. This prolongs the effects of the drug.


Percocet is another oxycodone based drug, except it is a mixture of oxycodone and Acetaminophen. Percocet is prescribed to help a person deal with moderate to severe pain, and is highly addictive when abused.


According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is highly addictive, and it is a heavily abused and extremely strong opiate. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally-occurring substance extracted from the opium poppy.

Heroin is man-made, and it is illegal. Heroin is commonly mixed with other chemicals to dilute the drug, and it is also commonly administered in a body through injection, which leads to the spread of fatal diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.


Hydrocodone derives from codeine and is often mixed with other painkilling drugs such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is not as powerful as morphine based drugs, but it is still highly addictive and when abused can lead to dependency.


Vicodin is a mixture of hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. Hydrocodone, the main ingredient in Vicodin, is produced from codeine. Vicodin is the most commonly prescribed painkiller and will help a person deal with mild to moderate pain.


Percodan is a mixture of oxycodone and Ibuprofen. Percodan, just like Percocet or OxyContin is highly addictive and can cause dependency to occur. Percodan is prescribed to people to help them manage their mild to severe pain.


Methadone, when managed, is used to help people get through an opiate detox, but when it is abused it is addictive and dangerous. Methadone is a powerful and long-lasting opiate drug. Methadone has a slow onset, which makes the drug dangerous for people to abuse, since an overdose can easily occur.

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