List of Opioids
There are many different kinds of opioids, and most of them can be very similar. It is important to know and understand the different types of opioid drugs and why they fall into the category of opioids.
It is important to know the different types of opioids and their properties. Here are the main opioids listed by their uses.
Street opioids are highly dangerous and addictive, and they are abused for the euphoric high that they cause. The main street opioids are:
Heroin is “produced from morphine” and is incredibly addictive (DOJ). It is usually seen as an off-white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance called black tar heroin. Heroin is usually injected, smoked, or snorted by users, and it often causes overdoses in users who become tolerant to the drug.
- Street names: Horse, junk, smack, skag, H
Opium’s “use for surgical analgesia has been recorded for several centuries,” but it is not in use for medicinal purposes currently (NCBI). It is not synthetic and is taken directly from the poppy plant and processed. It can be a liquid, a powder, or a solid, but it is most often smoked. It can also be taken as a pill or injected into the veins. It is often mixed with other types of drugs when smoked.
- Street names: Dover’s powder, zero, O, Toxy, Aunti Emma, Dreams, Guma
Prescription opioids are prescribed to treat pain and other medical issues. However, they are often abused as well. Some of the most commonly prescribed opioids are:
Oxycodone is an opiate analgesic prescribed to treat moderate and severe pain. It causes a high when taken in large doses. Many people become addicted to oxycodone when taking it recreationally, but patients who do not stray from their doctor’s orders might also become dependent on it, requiring a tapering off of the drug so as not to experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.
- Oxycodone brand names: Percocet, Oxycontin, Percodan
- Street names: oxy, ox, Oxycotton, roxies
According to the NLM, “hydrocodone is available only in combination with other ingredients.” It can be used to treat pain and also severe cough by “decreasing activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.” Hydrocodone can be habit-forming and must be taken with the same precaution as other opioids.
- Hydrocodone brand names: Vicodin (with acetaminophen), Ibudone (with ibuprofen)
- Street names: vikes, norco, hydro
Meperidine is used to relieve moderate and severe pain. It can be prescribed as a tablet or a liquid syrup which should be mixed with water. It can also be taken as a meperidine hydrochloride injection for pain.
- Meperidine brand names: Demerol
- Street names: demmies, pethidine
Morphine occurs naturally in the poppy plant and has been used to treat pain for many years. It is also abused recreationally in large doses by those looking to abuse its euphoric high. It is available as an injection, suppository, capsule, and oral solution.
- Morphine brand names: Roxanol, Oramorph, Kadian
- Street names: M, duramorph
Tramadol is used for those who “need medication to relieve pain around-the-clock” (NLM). It is usually prescribed to those who need relief from moderate to moderately severe pain and should be taken about every 4-6 hours, depending on the doctor’s orders. It comes as several different types of tablets and capsules and can be habit-forming.
- Tramadol brand names: Ultram, Conzip
- Street names: ultra, chill pill
Hydromorphone is a semi-synthetic opioid that is used for pain relief. It should only be prescribed to those who can’t be treated with other types of pain medications and the “hydromorphone extended-release tablets should only be used to treat people who are tolerant… to opioid medication” (NLM).
- Hydromorphone brand names: Dilaudid, Exalgo
- Street names: footballs, D, dust, juice
Codeine is prescribed to relieve pain and to reduce severe coughing. It is sometimes available in combination with acetaminophen. It is part of the opioid class while also being a part of the antitussives class.
- Codeine brand names: Guiatuss AC (with guaifenesin), Brontex (with guaifenesin), Vanacof (with dexchlorpheniramine, phenylephrine)
- Street names: purple drank, cody, pancakes & syrup
Fentanyl comes as many different types of medications, specifically a lozenge, patch, sublingual, and dissolvable tablet. It is used to treat “breakthrough pain” (NLM) and is prescribed to those who need painkillers but are already tolerant to opioids. Fentanyl can also be habit-forming, like other opioids.
- Fentanyl brand names: Abstral, Onsolis, Fentora
- Street names: Apache, TNT, murder 8, China doll
These are the main opioid medications and illicit opioid drugs that are most commonly used today. Those who use and abuse opioids should be aware of their possibility for addiction and their potential for overdose. When taking opioids, you should never deviate from the prescription given to you by your doctor as this may increase your chances of overdose, tolerance, and addiction. Always consult your doctor before you stop taking opioids, as you may need to be tapered off of the drug.