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Opioids and Opiates (Prescription Painkillers)

poppyThese drugs are derived from the poppy plant and are widely used to treat daily pain from injuries or surgery.

Forms

medications include: Vicodin (Hydrocodone), Oxycodone, Codeine

Prescription dictates that these pills be ingested, but some recreational users are known to crush and snort them for a more intense effect.


Effects

positive

negative

  • relaxation
  • pain relief
  • euphoria
  • dizziness
  • sedation
  • slow breathing
  • nausea
  • constipation

Addiction potential

While the habit-forming properties of painkillers like Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are less significant than those of Morphine, they are still an important consideration. Psychological addiction is more likely to occur than physical addiction, but both are possible.

Addiction is more likely to develop when the user snorts or injects the substance (and has been a well-documented problem, especially with Oxycodone or "oxycotton").

Dangers

Overdose can occur through respiratory failure, though this requires a very heavy dose.

It is far more likely for a user to overdose on the Acetaminophen contained in these painkillers than the opium-derived substance. Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) overdose can occur at relatively low doses and causes liver damage. Symptoms include black, tarry stool and abdominal pain.

Mixing opioids/opiates with alcohol or other depressants is dangerous. Alcohol ingestion usually results in nausea and vomiting and increases overdose potential.

Risk management (best advice to user)

Do not use compulsively.

Do not mix with other depressants, including alcohol, as it increases the chance of overdose.

Do not use a heavy dose of pills containing Acetaminophen (Paracetamol). Acetaminophen overdose is far more likely than opiate/opioid overdose and is exceedingly unpleasant and damaging to the liver.

Stimulants DO NOT cancel out the effects of opioids and opiates.

Last Updated: 1/21/09