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This large category of central nervous system depressants include those drugs that come from the opium poppy and synthetic drugs that produce opiate like effects. As opposed to numerous drugs which are abused and of recent origin, the opiates have been with us for centuries.

Used primarily for pain, their history of abuse is also long standing. Those drugs derived from the opium poppy include alkaloids morphine and codeine, and semi-synthetics hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Synthetic opiates include methadone and meperidine (Demerol) produce opiate like effects but are not derived from the opiate poppy.

The route of ingestion differs in popularity with the drug type and include, snorting, smoking, injection and skin-popping. It is taken on the street for its euphoric effect and side-effects vary widely and are dependent on many factors (route of ingestion, history of usage, etc.) and include vomiting (particularly with initial use), constipation, depression , slurred speech and numbness.

Large doses cause breathing slows, pupils dilate and the skin becomes cold and moist and serious respiratory depression can occur. Chronic opiate users often develop endocarditis and a dependence on the drug and withdrawal may be very difficult and require the usage of other drugs in the process.

Poppy seeds that have not been thoroughly washed may trigger a positive screen on an opiate assay, including poppy seed breads such as bagels.

Screening for this is available on our on-site devices and via our laboratory services for drug abuse testing kits