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What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a type of drug used primarily in medicine as a pain reliever. Morphine, oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, and more are all kinds of opioids. Opioids work by blocking nerve signals in the brain which blocks pain and slows breathing. Opioids are very effective at pain relief, but carry risks such as addiction and overdose. An overdose happens when there are more opioids in your system than your body can handle, and breathing is slowed down too much or stops.

Legal oxycodone (pictured here) is the common opioid of choice by users. A person addicted to opioids may have developed this addiction through prescription medications. 

What About Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid that is 80-100 times more potent than morphine. This makes it extremely dangerous, as an overdose can occur much quicker. Fentanyl is odorless and tasteless and can be in any drug bought on the street or online. There is no way to tell how much is in a pill, or how it is distributed within the pill. Unless it was prescribed to you, there is no way to guarantee a pill doesn’t have fentanyl in it, even if the source says there isn’t.

Fentanyl has flooded the Pacific Northwest. It is not just present in fake opioid pills, but also in other types of drugs where opioids would not be involved. This means it is important for everyone to know how to respond to an opioid overdose.

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