About Opioids

An opioid is a strong medication used to treat moderate to severe short-term or chronic pain. Heroin and illicitly-manufactured fentanyl are examples of non-prescription opioids. Opioid Use Disorder or dependence can develop with prolonged use of opioids.

In 2020, Idaho experienced 164 deaths related to opioid overdoses. The Division of Public Health offers resources to prevent overdoses and get help.

Risks of taking prescription opioids
Anyone who takes opioids can be at risk for addiction, accidental overdose, or death. Chances of an opioid overdose increase when:
  • Opioids are taken alone 
  • Opioids are mixed with other substances
  • Opioids are taken in larger amounts or more often than prescribed
  • Opioids are restarted at the same dose after taking a break from using opioids
Check out DHW’s Drug Overdose Data Dashboard
Drug overdose in Idaho
164
Deaths related to any opioid
2020
1,209,805
Prescriptions for opioids
2020
4,548
Emergency Department Visits Related to Any Drug Overdose
[Excluding Deaths]
2020

Opioid information

Common opioids
GENERIC NAME Brand names Street/Slang names
Oxycodone OxyContin® O.C., Oxycet, Oxycotton, Oxy, Hillbilly Heroin, Percs
Hydrocodone Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet® Vike, Watson-387
Morphine Kadian®, Avinza®, MS Contin®, Duramorph®, Roxanol® M, Miss Emma, Monkey, White Stuff
Codeine Tylenol® with Codeine, TyCo, Tylenol® #3 Captain Code, Cody, Lean, Schoolboy, Sizzurp, Purple Drank; With glutethimide:
Doors and Fours, Loads, Pancakes and Syrup
Fentanyl Duragesic®, Actiq®, Sublimaze® Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, Tango and Cash, TNT
Hydromorphone Dilaudid® D, Dillies, Footballs, Juice, Smack
Meperidine Demerol® Demmies
Oxymorphone Opana® Biscuits, Blue Heaven, Blues, Mrs. O, O Bomb, Octagons, Stop Signs
Methadone Dolophine®, Methadose® Fizzies, Amidone, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dollies, Dolls, Done, Meth
Buprenorphine Suboxone®, Subutex®, Zubsolv®, Bunavail®, Butrans® Sobos, Saboxin, Oranges, Bupe, Box, Boxes, Stops, Subs

 

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that comes in pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical forms. Potency levels differ among opioids—fentanyl is 50x stronger than heroin and 100x stronger than morphine.

It is becoming more common for fentanyl to be laced within illicit substances. Fentanyl-laced drugs are extremely dangerous, and many people may be unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl. Ingesting fentanyl, intentionally or unintentionally, increases the risk of experiencing an overdose.

To learn more about the risks of fentanyl, please visit the CDC’s Fentanyl Facts webpage.

How to use opioids safely

3 Key Steps

1. Keep your doctor informed. Inform your health care professional about any history of substance use disorder. All patients treated with opioids for pain require careful monitoring by their health care professional for signs of misuse and addiction, and to determine when these medications are no longer needed.

2. Follow directions carefully. Opioids are associated with significant side effects, including drowsiness, constipation, and depressed breathing depending on the amount taken. Take the lowest dose needed to control your pain and never more than prescribed. Taking too much could cause severe respiratory depression or death. Do not crush or break pills. This can change the rate at which the medication is absorbed and lead to overdose and death.

3. Reduce the risk of drug interactions. Don't mix opioids with alcohol, antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin), barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. Combining any of these substances with opioids could lead to life-threatening respiratory depression. Talk to your health care provider for more information on drug interactions when taking opioids.

Related programs

SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER
Substance Use Disorders (SUD) involved recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causing clinically significant health problems.
SAFER SYRINGE PROGRAMS
A harm reduction approach to address Substance Use Disorders.
POISON RESPONSE
Learn how to prevent and respond to poison exposure.
OPIOID PRESCRIBING
Find resources and information to support and inform clinical decision-making.