91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled, despite no overall change in the amount of pain reported by Americans. Deaths from these drugs – such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone – have quadrupled since 1999.
- What are opioids? Opioids are drugs that reduce the intensity of pain signals. The word “opioid” comes from opium, a drug made from the poppy plant. Opioids – natural or synthetic, illicit or otherwise – act on the body’s opioid receptors and all carry similar risks of dependency, addiction and overdose. Heroin is the most commonly understood opioid.
- What are they used for? Many teens and young adults first use opioids when they are prescribed them by a dentist or oral surgeon, often for removal of molars. Other teens and young adults may be prescribed opioids for a sports injury.
- What are common prescription opioids? Codeine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, Lortab or Lorcet, MSContin, Avinza or Kadian, Percocet, OxyContin or Percodan, Opana, Darvocet or Darvon.
- Why do people abuse opioids? For a variety of reasons – to party and get high, or to cope with academic, social or emotional stress.
- How do they abuse them? Sometimes people get high by crushing pills into powder to snort, swallow or inject (after dissolving in water). Heroin is an illegal opioid that can be injected, snorted or smoked.
- Where do they get the drugs? The majority of teens and young adults abusing prescription drugs get them from medicine cabinets of family members and friends. Some hand out or sell their extra pills, or pills they’ve acquired or stolen from classmates. A small minority of teens and young adults say they get their prescription drugs illicitly from doctors, pharmacists or online.
Source: Centers for Disease Control