Opiate is a term classically used in pharmacology to mean a drug derived from opium. Opioid, a more modern term, is used to designate all substances, both natural and synthetic, that bind to opioid receptors in the brain (including antagonists). Opiates are alkaloid compounds naturally found in the opium poppy plant. The psychoactive compounds found in the opium plant include morphine, codeine, and thebaine. Opiates have long been used for a variety of medical conditions with evidence of opiate trade and use for pain relief as early as the eighth century AD. Opiates are considered drugs with moderate to high abuse potential and are listed on various “Substance-Control Schedules” under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of the United States of America.
In 2014, between 13 and 20 million people used opiates recreationally (0.3% to 0.4% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65).According to the CDC, from this population, there has been a recorded 47,000 deaths with a total of a half a million deaths from 2000-2014. In 2016, the World Health Organization reported that 27 million people suffer from opioid abuse disorder. They also reported that in 2015, 450,000 people died as a result of drug use, with between a third and a half of that number being attributed to opioids.