Brought to you by The Coleman Institute

“Real Stories from Real People”

Click a link below to learn more about the IWINS initiative.

  • What are opiates?
  • How are opiates worse than other drugs?
  • Who should care?


  • What are opiates?

    Opiates are also commonly called narcotics. Opiates are a group of drugs originally derived from the opium poppy. There are now many synthetic versions that have been developed, including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Heroin, and Methadone. Narcotics all work in the brain by overpowering our natural endorphin system. Our natural endorphin system gives us a natural high, so when opiate drugs over-stimulate this system they produce a powerful euphoria: people don’t want to stop. In a very short time the brain develops a physical dependence, so now people have to use, just to avoid painful withdrawal. Quickly, tolerance to the drug increases, so all users have to take more and more of the drug just to feel normal. Withdrawing from opiates is an extremely difficult process with many painful symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms can last for months or even years – so relapse rates are extremely high.


    How are opiates worse than other drugs?

    Opiates are probably the most addictive drugs out there. When opiates enter your body, they travel straight to your brain and attach to the brain's endorphins receptors, over-stimulating it. This causes an intense euphoric feeling and reduces pain – both physical and emotional. Problems quickly develop:

    • Physical dependence can develop after only a few uses
    • Withdrawal symptoms are extremely intense
    • The need to have the drug makes people do things they would never normally do
    • Many people end up in jail
    • After treatment, relapse rates are well over 90%
    • Withdrawal symptoms can last for months
    • Overdose and death are very common

    Who Should Care? What can I do?

    The people who have volunteered to tell their story for IWINS have done so because they don’t want others to make the same mistake that they did.

    If you are a youth, young adult, parent, teacher or simply a concerned community member, opiate addiction should matter to you. This disease robs people of productive, happy lives. It affects the people with the disease and everyone around them. It is up to us to spread the word about opiates in order to prevent those we love from falling prey to this dangerous addiction.

    Help us to get the message out that there are some things you should just never try: opiates.

    Please join our distribution list so that you can receive our videos. Then forward them on to anyone you can think of so that everyone can learn about the dangers of these addictive drugs.

11% of 12th graders report they have already used narcotics
22% of high school seniors say it is easy to get heroin
50 people die every day in the U.S. from opiate overdose
47% high school seniors that say it is easy to get a narcotic
35% of 12th graders say it is not a great risk to try heroin once or twice
55% of 12th graders say it is not a great risk to try narcotics once or twice
24% of high school seniors say that it is not a great risk to take narcotics regularly
Narcotics are also called opiates because they originally derived from the opium poppy.
Opiates are so addictive because they overpower the brain's natural endorphin system.
Treatment success for narcotic addiction has the lowest success rate of any drug addiction.
Most physicians give up on even trying to get their narcotic-addicted patients drug free – they put them on methadone or suboxone instead.
Deaths from opiate addiction have tripled since 1990.
Every year 12 million people in the U.S. report using abusing prescription narcotics.
Over half the time, teenagers who try narcotics are initially given the drug by friends or family.

* Statistics provided courtesy of: NIDA, Center for Disease Control and SAMHSA

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