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 2022, Idaho experienced 270 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
Deaths related to any opioid
Overdose deaths in Idaho involved fentanyl
Emergency Department Visits Related to Any Opioid Overdose
[Excluding Deaths]

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


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 provider for signs of misuse and addiction, and to determine when these medications are no longer needed.

2. Follow directions carefully. Opioids may result in 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.

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