What is an Opioid?
An opioid is a drug commonly used to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids work by stimulating opioid receptors in the brain which reduce pain. Opioids are used in hospitals and are sometimes prescribed by doctors to help treat more severe pain and discomfort. However, research suggests over-the-counter pain medications may actually work better for treating acute pain. There are also illegal opioids, such as heroin.
Some common opioids include:
- Hydrocodone (Norco, Lortab, Vicodin, Zohydro)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicodone)
- Morphine (MSIR, MS Contin)
- Codeine (Tylenol #3, Phenergan with codeine)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic, Actiq)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Tramadol (Ultram, ConZip)
- Buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone, Butrans, Zubsolv)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
Who is at risk of overdose?
- Take high doses of opioids for long-term management of chronic pain.
- Have a history of substance use or a previous non-fatal overdose.
- Use heroin.
- Have lowered opioid tolerance as a result of completing a detoxification program or recently being released from incarceration.
- Use a combination of opioids and other drugs such as benzodiazepines (Klonopin®, Valium®, Xanax®).
- Use a combination of opioids and alcohol.
- Are unfamiliar with the strength and dosage of prescription opioids and the purity of street drugs like heroin.
- Use drugs alone.
- Smoke cigarettes or have a respiratory illness, kidney or liver disease, cardiac illness, or HIV/AIDS.