- A medication or illegal drug that is either derived from the opium poppy, or that mimics the effect of an opiate (a synthetic opiate). Opiate drugs are narcotic sedatives that depress activity of the central nervous system, reduce pain, and induce sleep. Side effects may include oversedation, nausea, and constipation. Long- term use of opiates can produce addiction, and overuse can cause overdose and potentially death.
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* * *opi·ate 'ō-pē-ət, -.āt n1) a drug (as morphine, heroin, and codeine) containing or derived from opium and tending to induce sleep and to alleviate pain broadly narcotic (1)2) opioid (1)opiate adj1) of, relating to, or being opium or an opium derivative2) of, relating to, binding, or being an opiate <\opiate receptors>
* * *n.strictly, one of a group of drugs derived from opium; however, the term is often used to include synthetic drugs with similar effects, in which case opioid is used synonymously. The group includes apomorphine, codeine, morphine, and papaverine. Opiates depress the central nervous system: they relieve pain, suppress coughing, and stimulate vomiting. The most important opiate - morphine - and its synthetic derivative diamorphine (see heroin) are narcotic, producing feelings of euphoria before inducing stupor. They are only used for severe pain since they cause dependence.
* * *opi·ate (oґpe-ət) 1. a drug derived from opium, or a semisynthetic drug derived an opium component. 2. hypnotic (def. 2).
Medical dictionary. 2011.