Opiate painkillers, also known as opioid analgesics, are used to reduce pain signals received by the nervous system and suppress the brain's response to that pain, according to WebMD. Doctors typically prescribe opiates after the occurrence of an injury or surgery as pain management to combat discomfort.
Opiate painkillers work to minimize moderate to severe pain in the form of liquids, pills, shots, suppositories and skin patches, as detailed by WebMD. Common pain relievers include hydrocodone, morphine and oxycodone.
The risk of addiction arises when opiates are taken without the supervision of a doctor or with prolonged use. The consumption of opiates with other drugs increases the risk of additional adverse effects, WebMD reports.