How Opiates and Opioids Work | Novus Detox Center

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How Opiates and Opioids Work


Opiates are drugs derived from the opium plant. Examples of opiates are:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin


Opioids are synthetic versions of opium manufactured by drug companies. Examples of opioids are:

  • Methadone
  • OxyContin
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Roxycodone
  • Fentanyl Patch
  • Percocet
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet


  • Become dependent (you have painful withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking heroin);
  • Or become addicted (you are dependent and also crave the feelings you get from heroin);
  • Have slowed mental abilities and often feel “fuzzy”;
  • Have slowed reaction times;
  • Are considered accident-prone;
  • Are dehydrated;
  • Are deficient in vitamins and minerals;
  • Have weakened immune systems;
  • Recover more slowly from colds or flu.
  • Have a lethargic attitude toward life.


Opiates and opioids work primarily on endorphin receptors in the brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain inhibitors and are naturally produced by the body. If someone falls and hurts their leg, more endorphins are produced to try to counteract the resultant pain.


Tolerance is a condition where more and more of a drug is required to create the same effect. Opiate and opioid users often find it necessary to take more and more of the drugs in order to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms.


Many people who take opiates and opioids for pain find that they start to experience more pain and that they ask to increase the amount of the drug. However, the more of the drug they take, the more their pain increases. This is a condition called opioids-induced hyperalgesia. The drugs are actually making the pain receptors more sensitive and this increases the pain. The only solution is to detox from the opiate or opioid.

There is hope for a new life.Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!


Unless a person has medical problems or becomes too dehydrated during their detox from opiates and opioids, they will not have severe medical problems during their detox.

The pain of the opiate or opioid detox is increased if the person:

  • Is very dehydrated
  • Is vitamin and mineral deficient
  • Has other health problems


Because of the pain of the withdrawal and the length of time it can continue, it is strongly recommended that people only attempt their withdrawal from opiates and opioids under the care of a medical doctor or in a facility, like Novus Medical Detox Center, where you will have 24 hour medical supervision and the pain will be greatly lessened.

Most opiate and opioid users have either willingly or unwillingly experienced withdrawal which caused severe pain. In fact, it is often the pain of withdrawal that prevents opiate and opioid users from even attempting to stop taking the drugs.


Once withdrawn from opiates or opioids, our patients tell us how great they feel. However, the actual underlying reasons that the person started using opiates or opioids to handle problems in life are not resolved by simply going through an opiate or opioid detox.

This is why it is estimated that 95% of the people who stop using opiates/opioids but don’t obtain rehab treatment will revert to using opiates or opioids again.

It is for this reason that we recommend that our patients who withdraw from opiates or opioids at Novus, enter a rehab program to ensure that they acquire new ways of solving the problems once addressed with drugs.

Of course, at Novus we know that people detoxing from opiates and opioids will often have unhandled medical conditions. It is for this reason that we try to help our patients find the right type of medical doctor in their area who will diagnose and treat any medical conditions found.

There is hope for a new life. Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!

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