The best ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to reduce opioid exposure, monitor opioid intake to prevent misuse, improve opioid prescribing and treat opioid use disorder. Together, we can save a life.

Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant.
Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure.

If you take a medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed, it is called prescription drug misuse.

Prescription opioid use, even when used as prescribed by a doctor can lead to a substance use disorder, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases. 

Research Report: Prescription Drug Misuse

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. In its prescription form it is prescribed for pain, but fentanyl is also made illegally.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from morphine, which comes from opium poppy plants. Some prescription opioid pain medicines have effects similar to heroin.
Research suggests that misuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin use.

Medical Facts About Heroin

Research Report: Prescription Opioid Use is a Risk Factor for Heroin Use

Opioids: Overdose Prevention – Richmond City Health Department (virginia.gov)

When used correctly under a health care provider’s direction, prescription pain medicines are helpful. However, misusing prescription opioids risks dependence, addiction, and overdose.

The best ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to improve safe opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent misuse, and treat opioid use disorder.

Articles on Opioid Prevention

External Articles & Documents