We report the G protein-first mechanism for activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) for the three closest subtypes of the opioid receptors (OR), μOR, κOR and δOR. We find that they couple to the inactive Gi protein-bound guanosine diphosphate (GDP) prior to agonist binding. The inactive Gi protein forms anchors to the intracellular loops of the inactive apo-μOR, apo-κOR and apo-δOR, inducing opening of the cytoplasmic region to form a pre-activated state that holds Gi protein in place until agonist binds. Then, agonist binds to μOR, κOR and δOR already complexed with Gi protein, to trigger the Gαi to open up the tightly coupled GDP binding site, making GDP accessible for GTP exchange, an essential step for Gi signalling. We show that the agonist alone cannot open the intracellular region of μOR and κOR, requiring Gi protein to open the cytoplasmic region by itself. We consider that this G protein-first mechanism may apply to activation of other Class A GPCRs. However, for δOR, agonist binding can open up the intracellular region to encourage Gi protein recruitment. Thus, activation of Gi protein mediated by δOR favourably may proceed with either ligand-first or G protein-first activation mechanisms.