opioid

noun
opi·​oid | \ ˈō-pē-ˌȯid How to pronounce opioid (audio) \
plural opioids

Definition of opioid

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a natural, semisynthetic, or synthetic substance that typically binds to the same cell receptors as opium and produces similar narcotic effects (such as sedation, pain relief, slowed breathing, and euphoria):
a or less commonly opioid peptide : any of various of endogenous polypeptides (such as an endorphin or enkephalin) produced by neurons of the peripheral and central nervous system The people who rated pain the lowest were those whose brains began producing natural painkillers called opioids the fastest …— John O'Neil
b : any of various opiates (such as morphine), semisynthetic opiate derivatives (such as heroin, hydrocodone, or oxycodone), or synthetic preparations (such as fentanyl or methadone) that may be used illicitly for their narcotic properties and are associated with physiological tolerance (see tolerance sense 4a(1)), physical and psychological dependence, or addiction upon repeated or prolonged use … fentanyl, a synthetic opioid at least 75 times more potent than morphine.— Ryan Trimble and Eric S. Peterson Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist used for the treatment of heroin addiction.Scientific American The prototypical opioids are morphine and codeine (which is milder than morphine).Harvard Health Letter When Walker County was identified as the epicenter of Alabama's opioid crisis, it was no surprise to residents who watched as drugs brought death and devastation down upon their families, neighbors and communities.— Ashley Remkus

Note: The word opioid was originally used only for morphine-like substances not derived from opium, but it has now become widely accepted as a broader term encompassing any substance—natural or synthetic, opium-derived or not—that binds to opiate cell receptors and induces sedation, analgesia, and euphoria.

opioid

adjective
\ ˈō-pē-ˌȯid How to pronounce opioid (audio) \

Definition of opioid (Entry 2 of 2)

: possessing narcotic properties characteristic of opiates : of, relating to, involving, or being an opioid opioid drugs opioid addiction endogenous opioid endorphins opioid cell receptors

Examples of opioid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Mexican authorities make $62M drug bust miles south of US border," 7 Dec. 2020 Only through daily doses of methadone, an opioid administered under strict physician supervision, has Ortiz, now 30, been able to regain what mattered most in her life. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje, San Antonio Express-News, "Searching for humanity," 23 Dec. 2020 The drug crisis has been exacerbated by fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "Drug overdoses in S.F. kill 58 people in November as fentanyl-fuelled crisis breaks records," 18 Dec. 2020 Fentanyl, a highly dangerous synthetic opioid, is involved in about 85% of the overdose deaths the state has had this year, Delphin-Rittmon added. Eliza Fawcett, courant.com, "Connecticut projected to exceed last year’s number of fatal overdoses, as COVID-19 results in isolation and fentanyl drives deaths; over 1,300 fatalities expected in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Jeff Grosso autopsy reveals fentanyl played role in legendary skateboarder’s death," 17 Dec. 2020 Fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic drug, was the most common opioid in the cases this year. Alice Yin, chicagotribune.com, "Deadliest year ever for fatal opioid overdoses in Cook County. ‘These are losses that could and should be prevented.’," 9 Dec. 2020 Mexican drug cartels widely introduced fentanyl into the illicit street market about five years ago, won over by how cheap and easy the opioid is to manufacture compared to cultivating poppies for heroin. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Drug deaths were already climbing at the beginning of 2020. Then the pandemic hit," 28 Nov. 2020 Researchers substance use disorders investigated in the study: alcohol, tobacco, opioid, cannabis and cocaine. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "People with addiction more likely to get COVID-19, die," 10 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Overdose Lifeline is on the frontlines of the opioid crisis in Indiana, helping individuals, families, and communities who have been affected by addiction. Sarah Madaus, SELF, "27 Organizations to Donate to This Holiday Season," 18 Dec. 2020 And now, the global COVID-19 pandemic has made the opioid crisis even more deadly, by creating insecurity, isolating users, disrupting the flow of uncontaminated drug supplies, and taxing our health services. Joseph Stauffer, Fortune, "Doctors and patients face a painkiller crisis, even as they fight COVID," 16 Dec. 2020 The nonemployment crisis of the 2010s and the opioid crisis of the 2010s weren’t completely separate. New York Times, "A Jobs Report Without Silver Linings," 4 Dec. 2020 Alaska has been fighting an opioid crisis since long before the pandemic began. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Overdose deaths in Alaska have been on the rise since the pandemic began, report says," 23 Dec. 2020 The Justice Department sued Walmart on Tuesday, accusing it of fueling the nation's opioid crisis by pressuring its pharmacies to fill even potentially suspicious prescriptions for the powerful painkillers. Arkansas Online, "U.S. sues Walmart in opioids civil case," 23 Dec. 2020 Drug use, and opioid use in particular, has also been a persistent issue throughout the year. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Coping through COVID: Introducing a series about meeting mental health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic," 17 Dec. 2020 While President Trump spoke frequently about the opioid crisis and empaneled a high-profile commission that included Kennedy and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie early in his presidency, his drug policy appointees remained largely anonymous. Lev Facher, STAT, "Patrick Kennedy pitches himself for Biden ‘drug czar’," 14 Dec. 2020 At the time, Gallup suggested there were two causes of such public antagonism to pharmaceutical companies—their role in the opioid crisis, and high drug prices. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The only cure strong enough for big pharma’s bad reputation is a Covid-19 vaccine," 7 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opioid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of opioid

Noun

1957, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1967, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for opioid

Noun

opium + -oid entry 1

Adjective

opium + -oid entry 2

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Time Traveler for opioid

Time Traveler

The first known use of opioid was in 1957

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Statistics for opioid

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opioid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opioid. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for opioid

opioid

adjective
opi·​oid | \ ˈō-pē-ˌȯid \

Medical Definition of opioid

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: possessing narcotic properties characteristic of opiates : of, relating to, involving, or being an opioid opioid drugs opioid addiction endogenous opioid endorphins opioid cell receptors

opioid

noun

Medical Definition of opioid (Entry 2 of 2)

: a natural, semisynthetic, or synthetic substance that typically binds to the same cell receptors as opium and produces similar narcotic effects (as sedation, pain relief, slowed breathing, and euphoria):
a or less commonly opioid peptide : any of various of endogenous polypeptides (as an endorphin or enkephalin) produced by neurons of the peripheral and central nervous system
b : any of various opiates (as morphine), semisynthetic opiate derivatives (as heroin, hydrocodone, or oxycodone), or synthetic preparations (as fentanyl or methadone) that may be used illicitly for their narcotic properties and are associated with physiological tolerance (see tolerance sense 1), physical and psychological dependence, or addiction upon repeated or prolonged use … fentanyl, a synthetic opioid at least 75 times more potent than morphine.— Ryan Trimble and Eric S. Peterson The prototypical opioids are morphine and codeine (which is milder than morphine).Harvard Health Letter

Note: The word opioid was originally used only for morphine-like substances not derived from opium, but it has now become widely accepted as a broader term encompassing any substance—natural or synthetic, opium-derived or not—that binds to opiate cell receptors and induces sedation, analgesia, and euphoria.

More from Merriam-Webster on opioid

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opioid

Comments on opioid

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