Opioids – Types, Mechanism of Action, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Epidemic, Opioid Overdose Treatment

Opioids – Types, Mechanism of Action, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Epidemic, Opioid Overdose Treatment


Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. Opioids refers to all substances (exogenous or endogenous) with morphine -like properties.

Endogenous Opioids

These types of Opioids are produced by human body.
Three distinct families of endogenous Opioids peptides have been well characterized-Endorphins, Enkephalins and Dynorphins.

Exogenous Opioids

These Opioids are produced outside of human body example morphine, heroine etc and attach same opiates receptors of endogenous opioids and produce the same effect.

Opioids are Obtained From:-  The term Opioids refers to all natural and synthetic. The first source of opiates was opium which is obtained from the unripe seed capsule of the poppy (Papaver somniferum) which yields a milky juice.

Opioids Examples:- Painkillers such as; morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Heroin is also an opioid and is illegal.

Opioids Mechanism of Action:- The presynaptic action of opioids to inhibit neurotransmitter release is considered to be their major effect in the nervous system.

Morphine sulphate:- Binds with activates Opioids receptors (mainly the mu receptors)in brain and spinal cord to produce analgesia and euphoria.
Codeine Sulfate/Codeine Phosphate:- Codeine sulfate is an opioid agonist relatively selective for the mu-opioid receptor, but with a much weaker affinity than morphine. This drug also suppresses cough by acting on opiate receptors in the cough center.

What are the symptoms of Opioids overdose?

  • ·         Breathing will be slow or gone.
  • ·         Lips and nails cyanosis or blue color.
  • ·         Person is not moving.
  • ·         Person may be choking.
  • ·         Can hear gurgling sounds or snoring.
  • ·         Can’t be woken up.
  • ·         Skin feels cold and clammy.
  • ·         Constricted pupils.

What is Opioid crisis or Opioid epidemic?

The opioid epidemic or opioid crisis is the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in the United States and Canada beginning in the late 1990s and continuing throughout the first two decades of the 2000s.
Opioid Crisis News Report on Vox.com ! Apr 5, 2018, 11:20am

What is the drug of choice for Opioids overdose?

Death can be prevented in individuals who have overdosed on opioids if they receive basic life support and Naloxone is administered soon after the overdose occurs. Naloxone nasal spray is found effective as a first aid for Opioids overdose. Naloxone is effective at reversing the cause, rather than just the symptoms, of an Opioids overdose.