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Opiates: A natural opiate derived directly from the natural opium poppy plant (see opioids).

Opioid analgesics: Opioid analgesics are commonly referred to as prescription opioids, medications that have been used to treat moderate to severe pain in some patients. Categories of opioids for mortality data include:

  • Natural opioid analgesics, including morphine and codeine;
  • Semi-synthetic opioid analgesics, including drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone;
  • Methadone, a synthetic opioid that can be prescribed for pain reduction or for use in MAT for opioid use disorder (OUD). For MAT, methadone is used under direct supervision of a healthcare provider;
  • Synthetic opioid analgesics other than methadone, including drugs such as tramadol and fentanyl.

Opioid dependence: occurs when the body adjusts its normal functioning around regular opioid use. Unpleasant physical symptoms occur when medication is stopped.

Opioid Tolerance: Opioid tolerance occurs when a person using opioids begins to experience a reduced response to medication, requiring more opioids to experience the same effect.

Opioid use disorder (OUD): Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) occurs when attempts to cut down or control use are unsuccessful or when use results in social problems and a failure to fulfill obligations at work, school, and home. Opioid addiction often comes after the person has developed opioid tolerance and dependence, making it physically challenging to stop opioid use and increasing the risk of withdrawal. National studies have shown that greater than 75% of heroin users utilized prescription painkillers as their gateway.

Opioids: Opioids are natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic chemicals that interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain, and reduce the intensity of pain signals and feelings of pain. This class of drugs includes the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain medications available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others. Prescription opioids are generally safe when taken for a short time and as directed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused and have addiction potential.

Opioid Treatment Program (OTP): In Maine, Certified Opioid Treatment Programs work under medical supervision for Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) maintenance and detoxification. OTPs administer opioid agonist medication (Methadone), monitor dosages, and provide counseling to people with a dependence on heroin or prescription opioid medications. Maine has 10 certified OTPs, six of which also provide Suboxone Services.

Outpatient Treatment Services: Outpatient treatment services are located at an agency office and provide individual, group, and family sessions. Requires daily to weekly attendance at a clinic or facility usually for 60-90 minutes, and allows the patient to return home or to other living arrangements during non-treatment hours.

Overdose: Overdose is injury to the body (poisoning) that happens when a drug is taken in excessive amounts. An overdose can be fatal or nonfatal.

Peer Support Group: Peer support groups, also known as mutual help organizations, peer support groups are structured non-clinical relationships, in which individuals participate in activities that engage, educate, and support patients recovering from substance use disorder. Peer to peer groups include such organizations as: AA, NA, Smart Recovery, All Recovery groups, LIfeRing, Women for Sobriety, and online forums.