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What is Opiates?

April 12, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

The term opiate refers to the alkaloids found in opium, an extract from the seed pods of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.). It has also traditionally referred to natural and semi-synthetic derivatives of morphine. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to all drugs with opium-/morphine-like pharmacological action, which are more properly classified under the broader term opioid.

Opiates are primarily central nervous system (CNS) depressants and narcotic analgesics. The use of opiates typically creates physical as well as psychological dependence and tolerance. Opium is the milky latex fluid contained in the unripened seed pod of the opium poppy (papaver somniferum).

Opium contains a number of different alkaloids. But only one family of alkaloids, the phemanthrene alkaloids, can be converted to narcotic substances. It is this highly addictive family of alkaloids and their derivatives that are controlled by national and international law. From this family comes morphine, codeine, and thebaine – the natural opiates The semi-synthetic opiates are then derived from these substances.

Make sure you drug test your employees and teens for Opiates.

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