Opioids: Strongest to Weakest

Opioids are constituents that are highly addictive and act on opioid receptors. In medicine, they are used for pain relief. In many cases, they are used in anesthesia. Sometimes opioids are also used for the suppression of diarrhea. However, many people use opioids illegally for euphoric outcomes or to prevent their withdrawal symptoms. Here’s a list of Opioids ranging from the strongest to the weakest:

  •         Fentanyl: It is a potent synthetic opioid and is similar to morphine. It is the strongest opioid in the line and produces a high level of analgesia (“the inability to feel pain”).
  •         Heroin: It is also known as diamorphine and diacetylmorphine. Heroin is an opioid used illegally for euphoric effects and falls under the category of recreational drugs. This drug is sold illegally worldwide in the form of brown and white powders.
  •         Hydromorphone (Dilaudid): It is also known as dihydromorphine. It is sold as Dilaudid as a brand. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain and is highly addictive. It can be taken orally or by IV injection.
  •         Oxymorphone (Opana): It is used to treat severe pain and is a highly potent opioid analgesic. It takes about 10 minutes for Opana to unfold its effect on the human body. The oral administration takes about 30 minutes and lasts for about 4 hours. It gives immediate relief to the pain and is highly addictive. Overdose can cause death.
  •         Methadone: It is sold under the brand names Methadose and Dolophine among other names. Methadone is a synthetic opioid used for chronic pain and it is also used in the treatment of opioid dependence.
  •         Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, Roxicodone): Oxycodone is also known as OxyContin and Roxicodone. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug that is used in the treatment of pain.
  •         Morphine: It is a common opioid used as a recreational drug and also for treating pain. It is highly addictive.
  •         Hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin): The mixture of acetaminophen and hydrocodone drugs is what is known as Vicodin. Depending on the dosage, each Vicodin tablet contains between 2.5 and 10 mg of hydrocodone and contains between 300 and 325 mg of acetaminophen.
  •         Codeine: It is an opiate/narcotic analgesic, and the class is called antitussives. Codeine changes the way the nervous system and the brain respond to pain.
  •         Meperidine (Demerol): It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Meperidine is a narcotic/opiate analgesic. It works the way codeine does – by changing the way the brain and the nervous system respond to pain.
  •         Tramadol (Ultram): It is a strong medicine that helps in treating moderate to severe pain.


How Opioids Addiction Unfolds

Opioids are a class of painkillers. They are also known to create feelings of euphoria. Many people use them for recreational purposes. These two factors, combined, increase the risk of addiction among people who take prescription opioids.


Opioid addiction is both short-term and long-term. The short-term effects include euphoria, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite. The long-term effects are addiction, analgesia, brain damage, heavy withdrawal symptoms, and overdose.


Getting the Right Treatment Matters

When it comes to opioid addiction recovery, a one-size-fits-all solution does not help. It is critical for the treatment to be tailor-made for specific needs and circumstances. Regardless of the type of rehabilitation center you visit, it is critical to ensure it offers an Accredited and Certified Opioid Treatment Program.

Coping with any substance use disorder is far from easy. Fortunately, help can be widely available if you know where to look. Start by first knowing the signs of Opioids addiction.

At Addiction Experts, our experts are here to listen to your journey and become your partner in growth. Get in touch with us if you or a loved one needs specialized treatment that aligns with all your needs.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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