Prescription Opioid Narcotics and Heroin

Did you know that legally prescribed opioid narcotics are pharmaceutical-grade heroin produced in a laboratory? If you had no idea, you are not alone; in fact many doctors are not trained in pharmacology and base their decision to prescribe an opioid on information they receive from the manufacturer of the drug. This information may or may not provide total transparency of the drug’s safety and efficacy. Many patients taking prescription opioids know them as “pain killers” and are not aware of their similarity to heroin. Many make the assumption prescription opioids are safe because they are legal drugs prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist. Legal does not mean safe.

Approximately 100 years ago, heroin was first marketed as “safe” by Bayer and it was widely prescribed to everyone including children. Around the 1920’s heroin was pulled from the market because of its highly addictive nature. This is why the majority of people understand the dangers of heroin. Today, OxyContin and Percocet are two of the frequently prescribed opioids used to treat pain. Both are narcotics containing the active ingredient oxycodone. The molecular structures of heroin and oxycodone are almost identical. There are many prescription opioid narcotics which are similar to heroin. Brand names of opioids continue to change but the highly addictive active ingredients do not. Prescription opioid narcotics come from the same place heroin does – the opium poppy. Oxycodone and other legally prescribed opioids mimic the effects of heroin on the body and mind and in fact are used interchangeably by many who are addicted. This is the primary reason we are seeing an epidemic of death and addiction caused by prescription opioids, far surpassing those of illicit drugs.