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An opiate is a drug that can suppress the perception of pain and calm a person's emotional response to pain by reducing the effect of pain signals sent by the nervous system. Opiates (also called opioids or narcotics) produce a feeling of well-being (euphoria) and cause mood changes, cloudy thinking, and deep sleep.
Side effects of opiates may include constipation and nausea. Frequent use of opiates may make a person dependent on them.
Commonly prescribed legal opiates include codeine and morphine. Opium is an example of an illegal opiate.
Last Revised: January 9, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
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