Opioid Classification

Opioids can be classified on the basis of their chemical structure as:

  1. Opium alkaloids (codeine, morphine)
  2. Semisynthetic derivatives of the natural alkaloids (hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, buprenorphine, diamorphine [heroin])
  3. Synthetic opioids
    • Anililopiperidines (fentanyl, alfentanil, sufentanil, remifentanil, carfentanil)
    • Diphenylpropylamine derivatives (propoxyphene, dextropropoxyphene, methadone, diphenoxylate, loperamide)
    • Others (pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbupine, levorphanol, tramadol)
  4. Opioid antagonists (naloxone and naltrexone).

Heroin is an opioid made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.

Substance Profile

Substance Heroin Effects euphoria, analgesia, nausea, relaxation, constipation, sedation
Street name H, china white, dope, junk, smack Toxidrome
Route Smoked, IV Cost 0.25 gram dose: $50
Mechanism of Action Agonism at μ-opioid receptors Notes Using heroin with crack cocaine is a practice known as speedballing.