NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse for teachers
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How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on nerve cells called opioid receptors. Scientists have found three types of opioid receptors: mu, delta, and kappa (named after letters in the Greek alphabet). Each of these receptors plays a different role. For example, mu receptors are responsible for opioids’ pleasurable effects and their ability to relieve pain.

Opioids act on many places in the brain and nervous system, including: