What are opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. All opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they 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 dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths. For more information on (SOURCE: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids#summary-of-the-issue)

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1. What are opioids?
2. What are prescription opioids?
3. What are common prescription opioids?
4. What are some possible effects of prescription opioids on the brain and body?
5. How do people misuse prescription opioids?
6. How do prescription opioids affect the brain?
7. What are the other health effects of opioid medications?