Is Meth An Opiate?

Southeast Addiction offers addiction treatment in Nashville, TN and Norcross, GA. Meth addiction is a problem of increasing severity. Rampant meth use destroys individuals and communities alike, and seeking out treatment for it is crucial.

Clinically Reviewed by Joshua Sprung, LCSW

Joshua Sprung is our Clinical Director, Overseeing treatment modalities, groups, and a team of therapists. He has been working in the substance abuse field for 13 years. Josh worked his way up from Behavioral Health Tech to Director of Admissions. He has also served as a Primary Therapist and a Clinical Manager.

Methamphetamine (also known as meth) is a powerful stimulant that has become increasingly popular in recent years. But is it an opiate? 

The simple answer is no, meth is not an opiate. However, in many ways it is as powerful and has as much or more addiction potential as many opiates do. 

In this article, we’ll explore what both meth and opiates like heroin actually do to the body. We’ll also discuss some of the dangers associated with using these drugs, and how you can help someone who may be struggling with a meth or opiate addiction.

What Is Meth And What Are Opiates?

Methamphetamine is a synthetic (man-made) drug that is similar to amphetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. Methamphetamine is typically taken orally, by inhalation (smoking), intranasally (snorting) or by injection.

Opiates are drugs derived from opium, which is a natural substance found in the poppy plant. There are other forms of opiates as well, which are not strictly derived from the opium plant. These are called synthetic opioids. These have been created in a laboratory. 

In medical settings, opiates act on the nervous system to produce pain relief and can be used to treat moderate to severe pain. Opiates are often abused for their euphoric properties. Both illegal opiates like heroin and opium, and legal (with a prescription) opioids can be and are abused. 

Opiates include:

  • Heroin 
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin
  • Opium
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol

The Difference Between Meth And Opiates

Opiates with syringe -

Meth and opiates are both addictive drugs that can have serious consequences.  However, there are some important differences between the two.

For one, meth is a stimulant while opiates are depressants. This means that meth will give you more energy and make you feel more alert, while opiates will make you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Meth can cause anxiety, paranoia, and aggression. It can also lead to addiction and overdose. 

Opiates can also cause constipation, drowsiness, and confusion. Both drugs can be deadly if misused.

The risks associated with meth are somewhat different than those with opiates, but no less serious. Physical withdrawal symptoms are not as acute as opioid withdrawal, but methamphetamine use can ravage the user’s body.  

Both classes of drugs carry a serious risk of overdose. Opiates as a group account for the most overdose deaths in the United States, by far. The numbers have been steadily rising since the 1990’s. 

Finally, meth is easier to manufacture than opiates. This means that it is often cheaper and more readily available, which can make it more tempting for people to try it. On the other hand, because opiates are prescribed by doctors, this can give them the veil of safety. 

Opiates (and any drugs for that matter) are only safe when prescribed by a doctor. 

Treatment For Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is a serious problem that requires professional treatment. There are many different treatment options available, and the best approach for each individual will vary depending on the severity of their addiction and their unique circumstances.

Some people with meth addiction will benefit from detoxification and treatment, where they can receive around-the-clock care and support while they detox and recover. Others may do well in an outpatient setting, where they can live at home or in a sober living situation and attend treatment during the day or evening.

Regardless of the level of care, there are certain elements that are essential for effective meth addiction treatment, such as:

  • Detoxification: This is the first step in treatment, and it involves ridding the body of all traces of meth. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, so it’s important to be under medical supervision during detox.
  • Rehabilitation and Therapy: After detox, therapy is essential for helping people with meth addiction understand the underlying causes of their addiction and learn new coping skills. This can be done in individual or group settings.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms or cravings during treatment. Medication alone is not enough to treat meth addiction, but it can be a helpful part of recovery.
  • Recovery: This is where the addict takes the things they have learned in rehabilitation, and applies them to a new, sober life in the outside world. 

Treatment For Opiate Addiction

Treatment for opiate addiction is largely the same. 

It typically involves a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. However, because of the physical hold opiates have over people, medication specific medication is often used to help users break their addiction.

Medications used to treat opiate addiction include buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. Behavioral therapies such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective in helping people to abstain from drug use and remain in treatment.

Get Aid For A Meth Or An Opiate Addiction

To conclude, meth is not an opiate. Although meth and opiates have some similarities in their effects on the body, they are fundamentally different drugs with distinct chemical structures and results. 

Meth poses its own set of dangers to users and should not be consumed. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse issues related to either drug, Southeast Addiction can help. Please give us a call at 888-981-8263


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