Also known as "narcotic analgesics". Concern about the abuse of prescription painkillers has risen dramatically in the U.S. Of particular concern is the abuse of pain medications containing opiates, marketed under such brand names as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol, and Darvon. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the incidence of emergency department (ED) visits related to narcotic analgesic abuse has been increasing in the U.S. since the mid-1990s, and more than doubled between 1994 and 2001.
Opiate has traditionally referred to not only the alkaloids in opium, but also natural and semi-synthetic derivatives of morphine (itself an opiate). The term is often incorrectly used to refer to all drugs with opium- or morphine-like pharmacological action, which are more properly classified under the broader term opioid.
*source www.Wikipedia.org and http://workplace.samhsa.gov/Glossary/glossary.aspx