Opioid Facts

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Opioids are derived from the Papaver somniferum, commonly known as the opium poppy plant.

o·pi·oid

/ˈōpēˌoid/

noun

plural noun: opioids

a compound resembling opium in addictive properties or physiological effects.

Harm reduction is reducing the harms associated with public health concerns.

Harm Reduction Key Terms

Forms of  Opioids

Codeine

(Actavis®, Quagen®)

is an opioid pain reliever used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. It is also used, usually in combination with other medications, to reduce coughing.

Fentanyl

(Actiq®, Duragesic®, and Sublimaze®)

is an analgesic with a potency at least 80 times that of morphine. Fentanyl and its derivatives are used as anesthetics and analgesics in both human and veterinary medicine.

Heroin

also known as diacetylmorphine and diamorphine among other names, is an opioid used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects.

Hydrocodone

(Vicodin®)

is a morphinane-like compound that is a semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from codeine.

Morphine

(Kadian®, Avinza®)

Morphine is a morphinane alkaloid that is a highly potent opiate analgesic psychoactive drug.

Oxycodone

(OxyContin®, Percocet®)

Oxycodone is a semisynthetic, moderately potent, orally available opioid that is widely used for acute or chronic management of moderate or moderately severe pain.

The stronger the drugs, the harder it is to revive a person.

The Affect on the Brain

Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells. These cells are located throughout the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body. Prescription opioids and heroin are chemically similar and can produce a similar euphoric experience.

Psychological Effects

Opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body affecting the feelings of pain and pleasure. Opioids can relieve pain while inducing a euphoric feeling.

Common Side Effects

Other known side effects of opioids include: drowsiness, confusion, nausea, constipation, euphoria, slowed breathing

2010 – 2020 Opioid-Related Overdose Death Data Infographic

References

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Last updated August 20th, 2022.