Opiates are a type of narcotic drug that act as depressants in the central nervous system (CNS). Opiates come from from opium, which can be produced naturally from poppy plants or derived from semi-synthetic alkaloids. Some of the most common opiates include morphine, codeine, heroin, hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Both humans and animals have opiate receptors in the brain. These receptors act as action sites for different types of opiates such as heroin and morphine. The reason the brain has these receptor sites is because of the existence of endogenous (internal) neurotransmitters that act on these receptor sites and produce responses in the body that are similar to those of opiate drugs.
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