What is an Opioid

Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain.


Heroin is the most commonly known opioid. Heroin is an illegal drug that is very addictive.

Common Prescription Pain Relievers

But opioids also include common prescription pain relievers, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. Because these drugs produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor’s prescription).

Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to physical dependence. When they are misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to overdose incidents and deaths. Anyone can become addicted to these drugs.

Synthetic Opioids

Also of great concern is the increasing use of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. These can be used on their own or be unknowingly mixed into heroin or pills. Deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids continue to rise in our region.

Get the Facts

Check out an Opioid Factsheet (PDF) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).