Learn About The Villains of the Opioid Crisis
When opioid pain relievers were first marketed, they were sold as a safe and powerful pain reliever. Today, it’s understood that opioid pain relievers are dangerous drugs that can lead to addiction and potentially death. Every day in the United States, 130 people die to opioid overdose, according to the CDC.
There are many specific culprits among opioids that are driving the opioid epidemic. A list of opioids strongest to weakest will be discussed in this article to better understand which opioids are the most dangerous.
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The list of opiates that will be examined will be ranked from strongest to weakest. The more powerful the opioid is, the greater the risk becomes of taking too much, and the more likely a person will become physically addicted to the drug.
1. Carfentanil – Carfentanil is an extremely dangerous opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is used to tranquilize elephants and other large animals, and is not intended for use in humans. Drug dealers may mix carfentanil into their drug supplies to provide their customers with a more potent, addictive high.
2. Fentanyl – Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and has been the main contributor to the rise in overdose deaths in recent years. The majority of fentanyl-related deaths involve synthetic fentanyl that is manufactured overseas and mixed with other illicit drugs including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
It is sold under brand names including Sublimaze, Duragesic, and Actiq. It also has many street names including China Death, TNT, Murder 8, Jackpot, Goodfella, Dance Fever, Apache, and China Girl.
3. Buprenorphine (Butrans) – Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder. It is about 25 to 100 times more potent than morphine, but it does not provide a euphoric high like other opioids. Buprenorphine is used in drug detox to relieve and reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.
4. Oxymorphone – Oxymorphone is sold under brand names such as Opana and Numorphone. It is an extended-release opioid that has many street names including O Bomb, Stop Signs, Biscuits, and Blues. Oxymorphone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain in patients who are unable to reduce or control pain with other medications. Oxymorphone is 3 times stronger than morphine when taken in tablet form, and 10 times stronger than morphine when received as an intravenous injection.
5. Hydromorphone – Hydromorphone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and is about two to eight times more potent than morphine, reports the DEA. It is available as an injection, tablet, liquid, and rectal suppository.
6. Heroin – Heroin is an illicit drug classified as a Schedule I substance with a high potential for abuse. Heroin is usually two to five times stronger than morphine and commonly mixed with other potent substances such as fentanyl or carfentanil. In 2018, heroin was involved in 14,996 overdose deaths in the U.S.
7. Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose) – Methadone is another FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid addiction and is about three times stronger than morphine. Methadone is often used for long-term maintenance in people in recovery from opioid addiction, and can only be dispensed at an outpatient clinic under direct medical supervision.
8. OxyContin – OxyContin is a brand name for Oxycodone, a well-known extended-release opioid. Oxycodone is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and is about 50% stronger than morphine. The CDC reports that oxycodone is one of the most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths. In 2018, prescription opioids like oxycodone contributed to 14,975 overdose deaths in the U.S.
It is usually sold as a tablet that is meant to last an entire day, which is often bypassed by drug abusers to quicken the release time. Street names include O.C., Oxy, Oxycet, Oxycotton, and Hillbilly Heroin.
9. Percocet – This drug is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. It comes in tablet, liquid oral solution, and capsule form. Some of the street names for the drug include Percs and Hillbilly Heroin since it also contains oxycodone.
10. Hydrocodone – The next in the list of opioids strongest to weakest is hydrocodone, which is sold under many different brand names such as Norco, Vicodin, and Zohydro. It is usually sold as a way to manage pain after surgery, chronic pain, or pain from an injury. It comes in both a syrup and tablet form. Street names for hydrocodone include names such as Watson-387 and Vike.
Hydrocodone has about the same strength as morphine and is commonly combined with other pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
11. Morphine – The drug that was known as the “soldier’s disease” due to addictions it caused during war times, is the next in our list of opiates. Brand names include MS Contin and Duramorph among others. It is often used as a pain-management solution for cancer patients. It is available in tablet, capsule, suppository, and injectable form. It has street names such as White Stuff, Monkey, and Miss Emma.
12. Tramadol (Ultram) – Tramadol is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain and has about one-tenth the potency of morphine. This drug is the only opioid categorized as a Schedule IV substance on the Controlled Substances Act.
13. Demerol (Meperidine) – The brand name opioid, Demerol, is most frequently used treat moderate to severe pain, and is about 7 to 10 times less potent than morphine. It may also be used as anesthesia due to its potency. The drug comes in a variety of forms including an injectable solution, tablet, and liquid oral solution. Common street names include Pain Killer and Demmies.
Though meperidine is less potent than many other opioids, it is classified as a Schedule II narcotic along with oxycodone and fentanyl.
14. Codeine – This opioid is a relatively short-acting opiate. It is commonly prescribed along with aspirin and acetaminophen. Tablet, capsule and liquid forms of the drug are sold. Some of the names that Codeine goes by when sold illegally include Purple Drank, Lean, Cody, and Sizzurp.
The US opioid epidemic has been an ongoing public health emergency since October 26, 2017. In 2018, there were an estimated 67,367 drug-related deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that, of those deaths, 46,802 (69%) were related to opioids.
Given the serious nature of the ongoing opioid epidemic, it’s important to know which drugs are opioids so you can stay informed and reduce your risk of dependence, addiction, and overdose. Opioid addiction can be safely treated with drug detox and evidence-based therapies at Dana Point Rehab Campus.