Opioids are a family of drugs used to relieve pain. Some opioids, such as morphine and codeine are made from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is a highly addictive, illegal opioid also made from morphine by adding via a chemical process. Those opiods derived from the poppy plant such as morphine, heroin, or oxycodone are refered to as "opiates".  Other opioids such as methadone or buprenorphine are synthetically made from chemicals.

Commonly misused prescription drugs include:

  • oxycodone (e.g., Percodan, Percocet, OxyContin)
  • hydrocodone (e.g., Tussionex)
  • codeine (e.g., Tylenol 1, Tylenol 3)
  • morphine
  • hydromorphone (e.g., Dilaudid)
  • meperidine (e.g., Demerol)

Opioids are effective painkillers. They can also create feelings of intense pleasure or euphoria. People who misuse or abuse opioids can easily become addicted to them.