O p i a t e s


Opiates is the name given to the family of drugs that are derived from opium and have properties similar to opium and its main active ingredient, which is morphine. Opiates, which are abused either in their natural or synthetic form (Opioids), are frequently called narcotics, due to their propensity to cause the user to sleep (hence, narcolepsy, or the disorder connected to sleeping too much, and Morpheus (morphine), who the Greek mythology was the God of dreams). Opiates, which include the widely abused drugs Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Demerol, Fentanyl and Methadone, can be swallowed, smoked, snorted, injected into under the skin (“skin-popping”) and injected intravenously.

Slang/Street Names

Heroin: “H,” Horse, junk, snow, stuff, lady, poppy, smack, black tar, Lady Jane, white stuff. Morphine: “M,” dreamer, sweet Jesus, junk, morph, Miss Emma. Codeine: schoolboy, “3’s” and “4’s.”


Opiates/Opioids relieve pain by increasing the pain threshold in the brain, in addition to reducing fear and anxiety by interfering or slowing down the neurotransmitters norepinephrine (NE), Dopamine (D) and Acetylcholine (Ach). Another naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain, the endorphins (“endo” = produced within + “orphins” [from morphine]) mediate pain and regulate mood. The Opiates stimulate the release of endorphins, creating the feeling of euphoria but also bring about the unwanted effect of Central Nervous System depression (respiratory depression is a prime cause of death with Opiate users).

Symptoms and Side Effects of Abuse/Dependence

Acute effects of Opiates/Opioids abuse include feelings of euphoria, relaxation, relief from pain, “nodding” (apathy, detachment from reality, impaired judgment and drowsiness), constricted or “pinpoint” pupils, constipation, nausea, slurred speech and respiratory depression. Along with the “rush” sensation, users will experience an increase in body temperature, decreased tension, dry mouth and reduced gastrointestinal mobility. Intravenous users of Opioids are at high-risk for developing HIV+, Hepatitis B and other infections, such as skin abscesses, phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) and septic emboli (the presence of disease causing toxins in the blood or the body tissues), which could lead to pneumonia and other diseases (AIDS).

Long-term use of Opiates/Opioids cause a general loss of energy, ambition, drive, motor retardation, attention impairment and sedation.

Withdrawal and Overdose

Withdrawal from Opiates/Opioids is seldom fatal, however, symptoms include runny nose, yawning, sneezing, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, chills, bone pain, abdominal pain and cramps, anorexia, anxiety, irritability, insomnia and the secretion of tears (lacrimation). Overdose could cause unconsciousness, coma, respiratory depression, circulatory depression, cardiac arrest and of course, death.

If you are struggling and abusing opiates, please consider asking others for help, by clicking here.

Other HEAD GAMES Drugs of Abuse:




Hallucinogens (Marijuana and LSD)


TeleHealth/Video counseling sessions are available for those who prefer to meet online – Dr. McGill

Businesswoman presses button psychological counseling online on virtual screens. technology, internet and networking concept.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.




, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,