Opioids (also sometimes called narcotics) are powerful substances related to chemicals found in the opium poppy plant. Some opioids are used medically for pain relief, but an overdose can cause respiratory depression (your breathing becomes slow or stops) and death. Opioids are highly addictive, and opioid addiction and overdose deaths are a growing problem throughout the United States, including in Arlington County. Some examples of opioids include:
- Heroin (aka Black Tar, Dope, Junk, or Smack) is not used medically, but can be bought on the street and is injected, smoked, or snorted. Heroin is also sometimes contaminated with fentanyl, carfentanil, and other very potent drugs, increasing the risk of accidental overdose and death.
- Oxycodone (aka OxyContin, Oxy, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, and Endocet),
Hydrocodone (aka Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicoprofen),
Codeine (found in combination medicines such as Tylenol #3 or Robitussin AC),
Hydromorphone (aka Dilaudid), and
Morphine (aka MS Contin and Roxanol) are all strong prescription pain medications, sometimes found in combination pills with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other medicines.
- Fentanyl (aka Sublimaze, Subsys, Duragesic, and China White) is a very potent prescription pain medication that is increasingly abused. Only a tiny amount can cause a fatal overdose.
- Methadone (aka Dolphin) is a long-acting prescription opioid that is sometimes used as part of the medical treatment of opioid addiction.
All of these drugs can be deadly, but help is available to treat people struggling with addiction.