Addiction is a disease that reaches people across age, race, gender and income groups. Individuals and families of all shapes and sizes are affected. The Wyoming Department of Health and our partners are taking action to help prevent high rates of opioid abuse and overdose related deaths.
What is an opioid?
Opioids are a class of legal and illegal drugs used to reduce pain. Whether to relieve pain or to get high, taking someone else’s painkillers isn’t legal and is considered prescription drug abuse. Because opioids are highly addictive, anyone who takes them can become addicted. Taking too many can even stop a person’s breathing—leading to death.
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Common opioids include:
- Morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone (also known as OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®)
- Hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®)
- Hydromorphone (also known as Dilaudid®, Exalgo®)
- Buprenorphine (also known as Subutex®, Suboxone®)
- Fentanyl (also known as Duragesic® or Fentora® is a synthetic drug many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved to treat severe pain such as from advanced cancer.)
- Heroin (is an illegal opioid.)
Doctors prescribe opioids for pain, but they can have serious side effects including:
- Tolerance: over time, you might need to take more for the same pain relief
- Physical dependence: you have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Low testosterone that can result in lower sex drive, energy, and strength
- Itching and sweating
- Overdose leading to death