What is an Opioid?

The rural reality of opioid addiction

Are there opioids in your medicine cabinet? You may have been prescribed an opioid for your knee surgery or your back pain. Click the links at the left to learn more about what opioids are and see if you have any in your medicine cabinet.

Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain, and 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.

Examples

  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone)
  • Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Ora-Morph SR ,Astramorph, Avinza)
  • Oxycodone/Acetaminophen (Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone/Naloxone (Targiniq ER)

Fentynyl

Fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds such as carfentanil and acetyl fentanyl are synthetic opioids, and often have very high levels of potency. Illegally produced fentanyl can be hundreds of times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil and other related drugs can be even stronger. It only takes a very small amount of fentanyl or its derivatives — which can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes (the nose or mouth) — to result in severe adverse reactions. As a consequence, not only are users exposed to danger, but so are others who encounter them including the general public, first responders, and law enforcement.

red pill bottle slides in and tips over
small white pill falling from the bottle

ABOUT THESE COUNTIES

The rural reality of opioid addiction

Our series shares stories from three rural counties with high rates of drug overdose deaths. But they are just an illustration of the opioid epidemic that’s hitting your county, too. Click on the icons on the left to learn more.

Population

Guernsey Co., OH
39,063

Huron Co., OH
58,439

Lawrence Co., PA
87,294

Income

Guernsey Co., OH
$41,630

Huron Co., OH
$48,838

Lawrence Co., PA
$43,900

Education

Guernsey Co., OH
85.1%

graduated from high school.

Huron Co., OH
87.9%

graduated from high school.

Lawrence Co., PA
89.2%

graduated from high school.

Farms

Guernsey Co., OH
1,228

Huron Co., OH
865

Lawrence Co., PA
659

2010 Overdoses

Guernsey Co., OH
12

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 33.8%

Huron Co., OH
4

Lawrence Co., PA
12

Ohio
1,911

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 16.7%*

Pennsylvania
1,980

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 15.8%*

United States
30,393

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 12.9%*

*Unintentional Drug Overdose Death Counts and Age-Adjusted Death Rates per 100,000 Population

2016 Overdoses

Guernsey Co., OH
13

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 37.7%*

Huron Co., OH
16

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 31.1%*

Lawrence Co., PA
40

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 43.9%*

Ohio
4,050

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 36.8%*

Pennsylvania
4,642

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 36.5%*

United States
55,403**

Percentage of deaths due to overdoses: 17.2%* **

*Unintentional Drug Overdose Death Counts and Age-Adjusted Death Rates per 100,000 Population. **2015 data.
Sources: US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Agriculture, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. These agencies specifically disclaim responsibility for any analysis, interpretations or conclusions.

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