Opiate: Drugs derived directly from the opium poppy, including morphine.
Opioid: Typically refers to synthetic or partially synthetic drugs designed to imitate the effects of opiates, including painkillers such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and fentanyl. Opioids and opiates act on opioid receptors in the brain. They can affect parts of the brain that control emotion and pain perception, and can produce euphoria, or a “high.” Long-term use can alter brain functioning.
Heroin: An opioid drug derived from morphine. It can be injected, snorted or smoked.
Fentanyl: A potent synthetic opioid that can be used legally as a painkiller and illicitly. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. In illegal forms, it can be sold as a powder or on blotter paper and is often cut with heroin.
Carfentanil: A synthetic opioid that is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. Its common use is as a tranquilizer for elephants and other large mammals. Can be sold in powder form, sometimes disguised as heroin.
Naloxone: A medication used to halt opioid overdoses by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. Also known by the brand name Narcan. Can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection.
Medication-Assisted Treatment: Uses medications, which can be opioid-based or not, in conjunction with counseling and other services to treat substance abuse. Forms of MAT can include methadone and Suboxone, which are opioid-based and bind with opioid receptors in the brain, and naltrexone, also known as the injection Vivitrol, which is not opioid-based and instead blocks opioid receptors.
Opioid Overdose: Because opioids affect the part of the brain that regulates breathing, a high dose can cause respiration to slow or stop and can lead to death.
Detoxification (also known as detox): ”The physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances. A situation in which an individual is in need of 24-hour medical and/or professional intervention to safely monitor and mitigate the potentially fatal physical, psychological and toxic effects that result from the abrupt discontinuation of drugs or alcohol use. The intensity, type, and duration of detoxification services must be determined by an appropriately trained and licensed professional and typically lasts for 3 to 5 days. Drug and/or alcohol addiction and dependency is not cured through detoxification, but rather detoxification ensures that a patient is physically stable enough to continue treatment or be discharged to the community.” (Definition provided by David Sanner, the director of the Erie County Office of Drug & Alcohol Abuse.)
Inpatient Treatment: “Inpatient residential programs are intensive and designed to treat serious addictions, as demonstrated by severe impairment of social, occupational or school functioning. Inpatient treatment typically lasts 14 to 90 days with rehabilitation as a treatment goal. Inpatient treatment may be the preferred option for those looking to get away from their current temptations and focus completely on sobriety with no distractions.” (Definition provided by Sanner)
Outpatient Treatment: “Rehabilitation is the goal of outpatient treatment, (which) typically lasts three months to 1 year or longer depending on individual progress and circumstances. Outpatient approaches range in intensity and duration and may include the provision of guidance, advice and psychological treatment as a means to deal with the client’s emotional structure and concurrent problems with or without the use of a FDA-approved maintenance substance.” (Definition provided by Sanner)
Sources: Associated Press, Oregon Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Drug Enforcement Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, World Health Organization