Most medications which belong to the family of opioids are referred to as opiates. Opioids are naturally derived from the opium poppy; opiates are synthetic. Opiates possess the ability to reduce and alleviate pain. Two of the most prescribed opiates are morphine and codeine.
When used correctly, researchers have found that certain opiates will not result in an addiction. On the other hand, given the "intoxicating high" opiates provide, those who inject or take very high oral doses can become addicted.
Doctor Forrest Tennant, in an article published in April 2013, did find during one study of long-term opioid users that some people may have adverse endocrine effects. Another site, NWRPCA, states that long-term opioid use can result in serious intestinal blockage, breathing difficulties, higher risks of infection, and dementia.