What Are Synthetic Opioids?The term "synthetic opioid" refers to human-made substances that have a similar chemical structure to opiates. On the contrary, opiates are completely natural, and semi-synthetic opioids contain some natural opium compounds. Pharmaceutical and secret underground laboratories make these drugs with chemical compounds. Underground labs may also press synthetic opioids into pills to sell as fake painkillers. It's not unheard of for them to add the chemicals into cocaine and heroin too.
Common Synthetic Opioid DrugsFentanyl is the most common synthetic opioid, and it's 50 to 100 times as potent as morphine. While less common, carfentanil is a more potent analog of fentanyl. Tramadol is also common, although it's not as strong. Physicians may use any of these to treat moderate to chronic pain. It surprises some people to learn that methadone is a synthetic opioid too. The reason is that rehab centers use it to treat opioid addiction. With proper dosing and supervision, however, the risk for synthetic opioid addiction from methadone is low. Other drug examples include:
- Acetyl fentanyl