OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Opioids

Commonly Abused Prescription Opioids

OPIOIDS

Prescription opioids are powerful pain relievers prescribed to treat moderate to severe acute pain.  They work by blocking the pain receptors in the brain, stimulating dopamine that produces a feeling of euphoria, heightened pleasure, relaxation, and in some cases, an altered state of consciousness. Opioids can be highly addictive even when used as prescribed and can cause a physical and mental dependency within a short period of time.

In 2016, 17,087 deaths in the United States were caused by prescription opioids. In Canada, these prescription painkillers fueled a total of 2,816 apparent opioid-related deaths. Prescription drug abuse is a considered national epidemic in both countries, and with motility rates on the rise, it’s vital that we understand the nature of these drugs, their effects on our body and the health risks they pose.

The following is a list of the most abused prescription opioids; their street names; how they are administered; and their short and long-term health effects.

OxyContin (Oxycodone)

Street Names: Oxy, OCs, Ox, Oxycotton, Os, Cotton, Hillbilly Heroin, Blues, Kickers, Killers, Oxycet, 40 (referencing 40-milligram pills), 80 (referencing 80-millgram pills)

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, or as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of OxyContin Use: drowsiness, slowed reaction time, impaired judgement, loss of appetite, anxiety, confusion, memory and concentration loss, muscle weakness, itching, dry mouth, clammy skin, excessive sweating, difficultly breathing, slurred speech, constipation, nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from OxyContin Abuse: sexual dysfunction, irregular female periods, scaring, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, chronic constipation, suicidal thoughts, violent behaviour, an increased risk of infections, HIV, Hepatitis, brain damage, seizures, coma, incarceration, overdose, and death.

PERCOCET (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)

Street Names: Percs, Roxi, Roxicotton, Paulas, Blue Dynamite, 512s

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, or as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Percocet Use: drowsiness, light-headedness, dizziness, impaired judgement, loss of appetite, anxiety, confusion, muscle weakness, itching, dry mouth, clammy skin, excessive sweating, swelling of extremities, difficulty urinating, stomach pain, chest pain, shallow breathing, constipation, hives or rash, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Percocet Abuse: suicidal thoughts, jaundice, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, chronic constipation, violent behaviour, increase risk of infections, HIV, Hepatitis, brain damage, convulsions, seizures, liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory failure, coma, incarceration, overdose, and death.

Vicodin (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen)

Street Names: Vikes, Vics, Vicos, Vikings, Vs, Vitamin V, Scratch, Hydros, Lorris, Fluff, Tabs, Watsons, 357s

Administered: swallowed, snorted, injected, or as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Vicodin Use: drowsiness, light-headedness, dizziness, impaired judgement, anxiety, paranoia, mood swings, confusion, muscle weakness, itching, dry mouth, clammy skin, excessive sweating, swelling, stomach pain, shallow breathing, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Vicodin Abuse: suicidal thoughts, jaundice, infertility, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, hearing loss, chronic constipation, an increased risk of violent behaviour, convulsions, seizures, brain damage, kidney failure, liver damage, cardiovascular damage, respiratory failure, coma, incarceration, overdose, and death.

CODEINE

Street Names: Cody, Captain Cody, Schoolboy.  Codeine syrup mixed with alcohol or soft drinks: Sizzurp, Syrup, Lean, Purple Drank.  Codeine mixed with glutethimide: Doors and Fours, Loads, Pancakes and Syrup.

Administered: swallowed, drank, injected

Short Term Heath Effects of Codeine Use: drowsiness, light-headedness, dizziness, impaired judgement, fainting, anxiety, mood swings, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, itching, dry mouth, clammy skin, excessive sweating, urinary retention, stomach pain, shallow breathing, constipation, hives or rash, nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Codeine Abuse: lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, depression, sexual dysfunction, chronic constipation, hallucinations, memory loss, an increased risk of violent behaviour, tremors, seizures, brain damage, kidney failure, liver damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, coma, incarceration, overdose, and death.

Fentanyl

Street Names: China White, Apache, Drop Dead, Friend, Serial Killer, Dance Fever, Jackpot, Goodfella, Murder 8, TNT, Tango & Cash (when mixed with Heroin)

Administered: swallowed, topically via patch, snorted, smoked, injected

Short Term Heath Effects of Fentanyl Use: drowsiness, dizziness, impaired judgement, fainting, anxiety, paranoia, mood swings, confusion, insomnia, muscle weakness, itching, clammy skin, excessive sweating, stomach pain, shallow breathing, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Fentanyl Abuse: slowed breathing, depression, chronic constipation, hallucinations, memory loss, an increased risk of violent behaviour, seizures, brain damage, organ damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, incarceration, overdose, and death.

MORPHINE

Street Names: M, MS, Morf, Morpho, Mister Blue, Miss Emma, Monkey, White Stuff, Unkie, Dreamer, Ensel, First Line, God’s Drug, Hows

Administered: swallowed, smoked, snorted, injected, or as a suppository

Short Term Heath Effects of Morphine Use: drowsiness, dizziness, impaired judgement, insomnia, impotence, anxiety, mood swings, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, itching, dry mouth, clammy skin, excessive sweating, urinary retention, stomach pain, chest pain, shallow breathing, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and unconsciousness.

Long-Term Health Effects from Morphine Abuse: suicidal thoughts, slowed breathing, irregular heart rate and rhythm, depression, infertility, chronic constipation, hallucinations, memory loss, violent behaviour, gastrointestinal bleeding, an increased risk of infections, HIV, Hepatitis, seizures, brain damage, kidney failure, liver damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, coma, incarceration, overdose, and death.

 

If you suspect signs of prescription opioid abuse in a loved one and are concerned about their risk of overdosing, call us at 1-877-353-2777 for help. The Farm in Stouffville is a private in-patient drug and alcohol treatment centre in the Greater Toronto Area.

Please follow and like us: