Learn More About Opioids

Prescription Opioid Facts

What are prescription opioids?

Opioids are used to reduce pain and are prescribed by medical professionals to help patients with severe pain or pain that lasts a long time. When prescription opioids are taken as prescribed, they are relatively safe and can reduce pain effectively. However, any use can lead to addiction.

Commonly Prescribed Opioids






How are prescription opioids abused?

People abuse prescription opioids by:
• Taking someone else’s prescription
• Taking a prescription to get high
• Taking a prescription in a way other than prescribed, such as taking more than prescribed, more often than prescribed, or another route than prescribed

Heroin Facts

What is heroin?

Heroin is an illegal opioid derived from the opium poppy plant. It is typically sold as a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance. Common street or drug culture names include: China White, Black Tar, Ron, Boy, Dope, Smack, and H.

How is heroin used?

Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted. Injection delivers the most rapid and intense high, however, any method is highly addictive. Heroin is often mixed with other substances called “cutting agents” that are inexpensive, easy to obtain, and mimic the physical characteristics of heroin, such as diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in over-the-counter sleep aides and allergy medications (e.g., Dormin, Benadryl). Since users often do not know what heroin is mixed with or strength they are using, there is a high risk of overdose or death.

Opioid Use Disorder: Signs & Symptoms

• Requesting frequent refills for painkillers
• Seeing two or more doctors for additional prescriptions
• Unexplained new or loss of expensive items (e.g., TVs, stereos, tablets, computers)
• Stealing from friends and family
• Going through money quickly or having unexplained additional money
• Focusing more on drugs than anything else
• Change or disinterest in friends, social activities
• Inability to focus on a given task
• Behavioral changes (e.g., mood swings, extreme paranoia/anxiety)
• Irresponsibility at work or school
• Lying
• Wearing long shirts and pants during warm weather
• Use of multiple cell phones, frequent changing of phones and/or numbers
• Increased sleep or often appears tired
• Intense feelings of extreme happiness or depression for no apparent reason
• Nodding out (i.e. chin on chest, sleepy, or slow to respond)

• Euphoria followed by fatigue
• Pin-point (constricted) pupils
• Red or glassy eyes
• Droopy eyelids
• Frequent nausea and vomiting
• Slurred speech
• Track marks, especially on arms or legs
• Weight loss
• Constant runny nose
• Scabs or bruises due to picking at the skin
• Disorientation
• Burn holes in clothing or bedding
• Dry mouth
• Itchy face
• Slowed breathing