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MHSA | About Opioids
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Home » Opioid Crisis » About Opioids

What are Opioids?
  • Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.
  • When used correctly under a health care provider's direction, prescription pain medicines are helpful. However, misusing prescription opioids risks dependence and addiction.
Prescription Opioids

In addition to the serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose, the use of prescription opioids can have many side effects, even when taken as directed. To learn more about prescription Opioids visit https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html

Fentanyl

Fentanyl and similar compounds like carfentanil are powerful synthetic opioids -- 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. High doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death. To learn more about Fentanyl visit https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl

Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from morphine, which comes from opium poppy plants. Some prescription opioid pain medicines have effects similar to heroin. Research suggests that misuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin use. For an Easy-to-Read Drug Fact visit https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/heroin-smack-junk-facts

Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide: 2017 Edition

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) resource guide is designed to be a reliable resource on the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the United States. This comprehensive guide provides important information about the harms and consequences of drug use. For more information visit https://www.dea.gov/pr/multimedia-library/publications/drug_of_abuse.pdf

Opioid Use in the Older Adult Population

Understanding Addiction

Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. To better understanding drug use and addiction visit https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction

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