As you are surely aware, narcotic drugs have been used for recreational purposes for millennia. They are of course, renowned for their mind-altering effects.

Opiates are particularly popular amongst recreational drug users which is why opioid addiction is more common than ever. When talking about narcotics, it’s important to understand your drugs.

Opiates are actually naturally occurring plant alkaloids which are derived from opium poppies. Opioids are synthetic and are therefore man-made and are designed to elicit very similar effects. Opiates and opioids are commonly used in painkilling medications.

These compounds not only block nerve cells responsible for sending pain signals to the brain, but they also have sedative effects and can prompt feelings of euphoria and happiness. This is one of the main reasons why opioid addiction is so common. But which drugs contain opiates and which ones should we watch out for? Here’s a more detailed look.


Oxycontin is one of the most popular painkilling drugs currently in circulation. It is also very controversial. Oxycontin is known as an extended-release formulation of oxycodone. Oxycontin contains opiates and it is therefore considered to be a very popular drug when it comes to pain relief.

Because it is so powerful, oxycontin can be used to treat moderate pain and severe pain, and it gets to work very quickly. The main issue is that because it is so strong, it is very easy for users to find themselves dependent on this very drug. Oxycontin is found in tablet form, and can be designed to provide instant release, or slower, more gradual and suppressed rates of release. It is a schedule-II controlled substance that is recognized as a legitimate medication.

The problem is that it is very addictive and is therefore often abused.


Vicodin is described as being a combination medication which is used to treat and relieve moderate-to-severe pain and discomfort. Vicodin contains an opioid pain reliever known as hydrocodone, as well as another non-opioid pain reliever known as acetaminophen. Interestingly, and worryingly, is the fact that hydrocodone, the opioid found in Vicodin, is the world’s most abused opioid medication.

In the United States, 99% of the world’s supply of hydrocodone is consumed. Vicodin functions as a very effective pain-relieving medication. Because of its high opioid content, Vicodin is highly addictive and is commonly abused. Addicts have been known to smoke, snort, and even inject Vicodin. It is also very easy to overdose from Vicodin and hydrocodone, which is why something needs to be done to tackle Vicodin addiction and abuse.


Codeine is a very popular pain-relieving drug that can be directly extracted from the opium poppy. Interestingly, codeine is man-made because many codeine-based painkillers are created with the help of morphine, which is used as a building block in making the drug.

Codeine is considered to be less extreme than some of the other painkillers on our list, but it is still addictive and very dangerous when consumed in large doses. Codeine is available in liquid, tablet, or injectable form. Codeine may well be less-addictive than other opioids, but addiction is still a very real problem.


Fentanyl is often prescribed to people suffering from moderate-to-severe pain who have built up a natural tolerance to other opiate painkillers. Fentanyl is seriously strong stuff and is considered to be between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine. It too is a schedule-II drug and is a synthetic opioid which can also be synthesized illegally in underground labs.

Sometimes Fentanyl is used to cut heroin, whereas in other instances it is used as a cheaper alternative. Fentanyl is commonly dispensed in lozenge form, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, or as a nasal spray. Fentanyl is renowned for creating near-instant feelings of euphoria, happiness, and extreme energy levels, which is why fentanyl addiction is such a serious issue.


Dilaudid is a schedule-II painkilling drug which can be injected or taken orally in tablet form. It can provide an instant release or a slow and gradual release, depending on which variety is selected. Commonly it is used in hospitals and other similar settings. Because it contains opioid compounds it is very addictive. When addiction sets in, Dilaudid is often misused and abused. It is not uncommon for the tablets to be crushed into a powder and snorted, smoked, or even injected. This opioid is semi-synthetic and is derived from morphine. When abused, there is a much higher risk of overdose than some of the other drugs on our list today.


Lortab is a very powerful opioid-based painkiller containing hydrocodone as its primary opiate. It is well known for its painkilling properties, whilst also providing antitussive properties. This basically means that it can also help to alleviate the symptoms associated with a cough.

Lortab can be prescribed as a tablet, or as an oral solution. It too is often misused and has been known to be smoked, snorted, and injected. Because it contains hydrocodone, it is considered to be one of the most highly addictive opiate-based painkillers in circulation.


Morphine is perhaps one of the best-known opioid alkaloid painkillers in existence. It is derived from the opium poppy and can be used to treat chronic pain and discomfort. Not only that, because it is so powerful, it also has strong sedative effects.

Morphine is therefore sometimes used as a sedative before a surgical procedure. In hospitals and medical settings, morphine is still the painkiller of choice in countries all over the globe. Morphine comes in many forms including tablets, as an oral solution, as a rectal suppository, and as a patch.


Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic that alters the way that the brain perceives pain and how it responds. Oxycodone is used to create Oxycontin, and so the two are incredibly alike. It too is highly addictive and is available in oral form.

Oxycodone tablets are commonly crushed, ground, or dissolved when abused. This is normally done deliberately, in an attempt to bypass other tablets designed to provide an extended, slower, and gradual release before being injected, snorted, or smoked. As a result, the risk of overdose is far greater because the amount which was intended to be released slowly over a longer period of time enters the system much faster.

Author's Bio: 

Author, Freelance writer