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What Is a Synthetic Opioid?

a doctor talks to a patient about synthetic opioid

Synthetic opioids are a class of drugs that are chemically similar to naturally occurring opiates, such as morphine and heroin. While some synthetic opioids have medical uses, many can be deadly when abused. Synthetic opioids have become increasingly popular in the illicit drug market due to their potency and low cost.

At Northpoint Omaha, we are committed to providing high-quality care for those suffering from substance use disorders, especially those addicted to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. With the Fentanyl epidemic claiming more and more lives, getting professional treatment at an opioid rehab program has never been more critical. To learn more, reach out to a professional at Northpoint Omaha by calling 888.687.8014.

What Are Synthetic Opioids?

A synthetic opioid is an artificial painkiller manufactured in a laboratory. Synthetic opioids are derived from thebaine, a naturally occurring chemical found in poppy plants. These drugs are often produced illegally in laboratories without any regulation or control over the ingredients used in their production process. Illegal production has led to high contamination rates with substances such as talcum powder which can cause severe side effects when consumed by unsuspecting users.

Synthetic opioids have a similar effect to natural opioids derived from opium poppies but with much higher potency levels. They produce euphoria, sedation, and analgesia (a reduction of sensitivity to painful stimuli). However, synthetic opioids are also more likely to lead to fatal overdoses and have been associated with increased rates of addiction.

List of Synthetic Opioids

The most commonly used type of synthetic opioid is fentanyl. An estimated 80-90% of all incidents involving opioid drug abuse involve fentanyl or derivatives such as acetyl-fentanyl and carfentanil. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, to create potentially deadly combinations known as “speedballs” or “mixes” that cause a severe risk of overdose, even when taken at low doses.

Examples of synthetic opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Tramadol
  • Methadone

Users of this class of drug may not know exactly what they are taking or how much they are taking–leading to a greater risk of overdose and potentially fatal consequences. Furthermore, users can quickly build a tolerance to the drug’s effects, increasing their risk of overdose as they take higher doses to achieve the same desired effect.

In addition to physical dangers, synthetic opioids can also lead to serious mental health issues for users. Because fentanyl binds so strongly to opioid receptors in the brain, it can cause an intense sense of euphoria when abused, which can lead some users down a dangerous path toward psychological addiction and an increased risk of relapse if treatment is not sought out promptly. It can increase rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

Providing Relief From Synthetic Opioid Addiction at Northpoint Omaha

The overall dangers posed by synthetic opioids should not be taken lightly–they are potent drugs that have caused countless deaths around the world due to accidental overdoses or misuse over time. At Northpoint Omaha, we understand the unique needs of individuals who struggle with addiction to synthetic opioids. Our team emphasizes building strong therapeutic relationships with those in care while providing a safe and supportive atmosphere that facilitates healing and recovery.

Throughout treatment, clients attend both group and individual therapy sessions designed to help them develop better life skills, build resilience, increase self-awareness, gain insight into unhealthy behaviors, and learn ways to manage triggers for drug use. In addition to counseling services, Northpoint Omaha offers medication-assisted treatments that can reduce cravings for drugs while helping individuals abstain from synthetic opioids. For more information on our Opioid rehab programs, reach out to our team of experts today at 888.687.8014.