Opioid Addiction: Understanding the Risks, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Pain is a common medical problem and opioids are often prescribed for it because they can be very effective for a short period of time. However, taking any opioids poses significant risks which include addiction and overdose.
Opioids are often used because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are helpful for people suffering from chronic pain or pain from surgery. All opioids are chemically related and act by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord and blocking the transmission of pain messages to the brain.
Common prescription opioids include, hydrocodone (Vicodin®) oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), oxymorphone (Opana®), morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®) , codeine and fentanyl.
Street Names include: Captain Cody, Cody, Schoolboy, Doors and Fours, Pancakes and Syrup, Loads, M, Miss Emma, Monkey, White Stuff, Demmies, Pain Killer, Apache, China Girl, Dance Fever, Goodfella, Murder 8, Tango and Cash, China white, Friend, Jackpot, TNT, Oxy 80, Oxycat, Hillbilly Heroin, Percs, Perks, Juice, and Dillies.
Opioids can produce euphoria and are often abused, leading to overdose and deaths. 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.
An opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug Naloxone when given right away (please see information page on Naloxone.) Decreasing availability of prescription opioid pain relievers and decreasing misuse among the Nation’s teens has shown some improvement. However, since 2007, overdose deaths related to heroin have been increasing. Fortunately, effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorders including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. ITS provides all these medications.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Opioids. Retrieved from
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