Drugs are consider "opioid drugs" when at least one of the ingredients was derived from the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum).
The opium poppy is just one of the many varieties of plants in the poppy family (Papaveraceae). The sap of the opium poppy is where the raw opium is stored.
This substance is retrieved and processed for use in those drugs which are considered "opioid drugs" and for which a prescription or authorization from a licensed health care professional is required. The majority of opioid drugs are used for pain relief. Sometimes, certain ones can be used for other reasons, such as the treatment of diarrhea.
All opioid drugs have the propensity to be abused, and all can be addictive. For this reason, it is important that care be taken to ensure that only the prescribed dosage is being given and only at the proper intervals. Further, when opioid drugs that are intended only for short-term use are prescribed, the person using these should switch to non-narcotic pain relievers as soon as the pain is completely gone or has greatly diminished. This will help prevent opioid abuse and addiction.
If Opioid Drugs are So Addictive, Why Do Doctors Still Prescribe Them? These drugs generally provide the best relief for pain, and it is known that uncontrolled pain can actually slow the healing process. However, the majority of doctors are very aware of the fact that opioid drugs can be abused or that addiction can occur; therefore, they take care to prescribe them only when absolutely necessary.
How to Prevent Opioid Abuse
The best way to prevent abuse or addiction is to not use opioids unless it is absolutely necessary. If they must be used, though, as soon as the pain is controlled, the drug should either be stored safely so that family members for whom it was not intended cannot have access (also, "out of sight, out of mind" may come into play here, especially if the user is concerned about the possibility of him becoming addicted or abusing it).