What are opioids?
The term “opiate” is often used to refer to a substance that contains opium or which produces an effect like that of opium. In fact, the term “opioid” means nothing more than “like opium” and is used to designate such products. In medicine, opioids are used for their analgesic properties; they reduce pain, in other words. They can be beneficial when used for that purpose, say for patients suffering from chronic pain due to diseases like cancer. They also have narcotic properties in that they induce sleep. As a result, they are often called “narcotics” or “narcotic analgesics.”