Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication. They can have serious, harmful side effects if taken incorrectly or excessively. For people with an opioid use disorder (OUD), it often started with a valid prescription for use after surgery or other procedures, or for chronic pain.

How opioids work

Opioid drugs bind to receptors in the brain, spinal cord and other areas, effectively telling the brain there is no existing pain. They are used to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin.

Some commonly prescribed opioid drugs include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Abstral, Onsolis) Also available in a patch form.
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro extended release)
  • Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond_
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)