MAY 17, 2017 03:05 PM PDT

How do Opioids Work in the Brain?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

According to 2012 data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids. Addiction dramatically increases the risks for overdose, and the CDC estimates that every 19 minutes, someone dies from exactly that - accidental overdose.

Stopping opioid use isn't so simple, especially when the drug is notoriously excellent at relieving pain. But what's the mechanism of action behind opioids? Once the compound enters the body, it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. Binding to these receptors flood the brain with dopamine, which produces a euphoric effect that alleviates pain.

Watch the video to learn what we know about opioids, and what we still have yet to find out!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 20, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 20, 2018
Defining the "Colors" of Antimatter
Atoms of regular matters, such as hydrogen, can emit a distinct spectrum of lights when their electrons get excited and move between two different ene...
SEP 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 24, 2018
Here's Why Goat Eyes Look Weird
Taking a closer look at a goat’s eyeball, you might notice that their pupils are elongated from side-to-side rather than round like a human’s;...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Chinese Hospital Ship Sails Into Venezuela
The Chinese hospital ship, the Ark of Peace, is a humanitarian effort by the Chinese government to provide health care to developing countries or areas in...
OCT 02, 2018
Videos
OCT 02, 2018
Learning how Bacterial Chemicals Impact Human Health
We play host to a huge number of microbes, and all the chemicals that they produce....
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
Counteracting Plastic Straws by Using Plant Fibers
According to the United Nations, ocean plastics kill an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually—and straws are much to blame. Already, the state of...
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
Globally, Many Students Are Over-Diagnosed With ADHD
When teachers notice issues with a student, parents naturally respond and often can lead to a diagnosis of ADHD. Now, a global study published in the Journ...
Loading Comments...