4 Opioids Listed From Strongest To Weakest
How Strong Are Opioids?
Over the past two decades, the United States has been battling a serious problem that has been labeled as the opioid epidemic for some time now. There is almost no corner of the country, from small towns to big cities, that has not been affected by the abuse of prescription opioids. This is due to many factors. An additional issue is that opioid overdoses have increased, not plateaued, during the last few years, causing municipalities to take further action. Lastly, there are many ways that opioid abuse begins, none of which can be justified as being acceptable. As a category, opioids are powerful substances and should never be used outside of a doctor’s orders.
Overall, opioids are very strong painkillers. This is why they are so widely used before, during, and after medical procedures, as well as after accidents and other injuries. If you have had almost any type of surgery in the last 20 years, been in a serious accident or gotten injured playing a sport, or otherwise had acute or chronic pain, there is a good chance you have been prescribed a prescription opioid. There is a range regarding how strong one drug in the category is compared to another, but they are all powerful substances. In addition to heroin, many of the strongest opioids are prescription medications. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed opioids:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
At Muse Treatment Center, we have seen many examples of how opioid abuse can begin and how harmful opioid addiction can be to individuals and those around them. We continue to develop new and improved ways of helping people with any type of abuse and addiction problem. We are quick to modify our treatment plans due to new drugs and substance combinations that are being used and to help individual patients progress in their addiction recovery from opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 48 million Americans, age 12 and over, have taken a prescription drug without a prescription for a non-medical reason. This includes many different types of synthetic opioids. Over the last two decades, heroin use has also increased as people seek it out as a substitute when they cannot get the prescription opioids they have begun to abuse.
There are several ways for someone to begin abusing synthetic opioids, leading to heroin abuse and heroin addiction if the person cannot continue to acquire prescription opioid medications. First, an individual can begin to use more of the drug they have been prescribed than what a doctor has ordered. This is referred to as self-medication and can occur when a person builds a tolerance for a drug they have been prescribed and takes more without consulting their physician. The second way prescription opioids often get abused is when someone “borrows” another person’s prescription medication for a legitimate reason, like an injury that does not seem serious enough to go to the hospital for or see a doctor. This can be dangerous because medical professionals prescribe medications based on an individual’s medical history, including any underlying conditions, and this type of assessment is not done when someone uses a friend’s or loved one’s prescription drugs.
The third way is when someone uses synthetic opioids for recreational purposes. This can also start after taking them for legitimate reasons and feeling the euphoric effect that accompanies the painkilling element. This can be bad in several ways. First, it is very easy to overdose when you are taking opioids without knowing how strong they are based on the specific drug and dosage. Second, pills sold on the black market can be counterfeit and laced with other drugs or cutting substances. This can be highly dangerous on its own, as drug traffickers want to offer stronger highs while also using cutting agents to save on costs. The result can be an unknown quantity of several substances.
The Strongest Opioids
Once again, opioids are power drugs no matter which substance in the category you are using properly or abusing. This also makes them highly addictive, as they produce such strong effects. This also makes them a risk for overdose, as the body reacts to such a highly potent substance. Below are some of the strongest opioids available for legitimate and illicit use.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has set back municipalities, law enforcement agencies, medical facilities, and rehab centers due to its potency and rapid inclusion in the drug trade. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. Drug traffickers have laced heroin, cocaine, and other illicit drugs with Fentanyl to increase the high people get from their drugs. This can cause deadly overdoses as drug addicts, and substance abusers do not know what they are using. There are two types of fentanyl: pharmaceutical Fentanyl and illicitly manufactured Fentanyl.
Heroin is the one street drug, or illicit substance, on this list. It does not have a medical purpose and is only used in a recreational environment. That was not always the case. The history and use of Opium and Morphine go back thousands of years. Heroin is derived from Morphine and was invented in 1874. It was used for pain relief in the United States, and 50 short years later it was banned due to its addictive qualities. Over the last two decades, heroin addiction and overdoses have increased. This is partly due to the use and abuse of prescription opioids as heroin becomes a substitute when they are unavailable.
Dilaudid is a brand name commonly used for the drug Hydromorphone. It is another very powerful opioid with a high risk for addiction and dependence. Dilaudid can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses. Drug addicts and substance abusers who mix drugs to create a new high often combine alcohol or other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine with the drug. This can also lead to fatal overdoses.
Opana is Oxymorphone’s brand name, and it has several medicinal benefits. It can treat moderate to severe pain. It can also help anesthesia work better during surgery and ease anxiety caused by heart-related breathing problems. This does not change the fact that it is highly addictive and can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses.
Learn about the musicians who have overdosed below:
Beat Your Opioid Addiction at Muse Treatment Center
No matter what type of Substance Use Disorder you or one of your loved ones are struggling with, we can help you at Muse Treatment Center. We have residential inpatient treatment programs, outpatient rehab, medically assisted detox, and dual diagnosis care available. If you or one of your loved ones is dealing with opioid abuse or opioid addiction, please call us at (800) 426-1818 today.