Is the illegal street drug heroin the same thing as a prescription opiate medication that is prescribed for pain? Yes and no. All opiates are sourced from the opium poppy, and this is also the base for heroin, but there are some differences between the two as well. When an opiate pain medication is prescribed the physician has a legitimate reason to give the drug. The pharmaceutical companies follow strict manufacturing and quality control processes to ensure that each pill contains the same amount of the active compounds, and they are clearly labeled with the strength. Unfortunately when individuals addicted to opiates can not find the prescription drug that they use they may turn to heroin instead. Since heroin offers the same effects many consider it a suitable replacement, but this is not the case.
Heroin is not manufactured in a pharmaceutical plant, it is produced by illegal means and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Quality control standards are not put in place, and often by the time the user gets the drug on the street it has gone through many hands and may have been cut with a wide range of other substances. Some of these may be harmless, others can include baby laxatives, and some compounds used to cut heroin on the street can even be deadly. The user has no idea where the illegal drug was made or even what it actually contains. While heroin and prescription opiates may seem to have the same effects they are not the same, and they both come from the opium poppy but that is where any resemblance ends.