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What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic that is extracted from the poppy plant. They are prescribed to relieve pain by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. Opioids interact with opioid receptors on the nerve cells within the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and pain relief.

Opiate Receptors

Opioids can be liquid, solid, or powder and can be smoked, intravenously injected, or taken in pill form. They can cause drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and depress respiration if taken in high doses. Some people seek to intensify their experience by taking opiates in ways that are not prescribed.

Illegal Forms of Opioids

  • Heroin

Legal Forms of Opioids

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)*
  • Codeine
  • Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)**
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol

*Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed opioid for injury-related pain and dental pain

**Morphine is used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain