Despite all the associated negative aspects (addiction, overdose, crime, etc.), prescription opioids still have a positive intent. They are commonly prescribed in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. These drugs, along with heroin, attach to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, GI tract, and other organs.
Once these drugs attach to the opioid receptors, their effects come on, which include, but are not limited to:
- Pain relief
As human beings, we already have an endogenous painkilling system that is capable of producing pain relief, sedation, and euphoria.
This natural pain relief system is activated when we exercise, eat certain foods, or perform other activities. For example, imagine a man who has just run five miles along the beach. As a result of this intense physical exertion, his body naturally produces its own opioid chemicals, known as endorphins and enkephalins, thus reducing pain, and promoting euphoria naturally (“runners high”).