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NOPE Task Force – Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education


  • Originally referred to as substances that dulled the senses and relieved pain.
  • Narcotics are used therapeutically to treat pain, suppress cough, alleviate diarrhea and induce anesthesia.
  • Use is associated with unwanted effects including drowsiness, inability to concentrate, apathy, dilatation of blood vessels, and respiratory depression, severe depression pains in bones and muscles dependence and addiction.
  • Since there is no simple way to determine the purity of a drug that is sold on the street, the effects of illicit narcotic use are unpredictable and can be fatal.


  • Morphine is the principal constituent of opium and ranges in concentration from 4 to 21 percent.
  • Morphine is one of the most effective drugs known for the relief of severe pain and remains the standard against which new analgesics are measured.
  • Morphine is marketed under these names: MD-Contin®, Oramorph SR®, MSIR®, Roxanol®, Kadian® and RMS®
  • Tablets and capsules, suppositories and injected.


  • Heroin is a highly addictive and rapidly acting opiate-specifically it is produced from morphine.
  • The appearance may vary dramatically, generally sold as a white or off white powder, the whiter the powder the purer.
  • Individuals of all ages use heroin. Heroin use among high school students is a particular problem.
  • Heroin is snorted, smoked or injected. Both new and experienced users risk overdose.
  • Risks include: Slow and shallow breathing, convulsions, coma and death.
  • Risk of HIV infection if injected.


  • OxyContin® is a narcotic painkiller available in the United States only by prescription.
  • OxyContin® is legitimately prescribed for relief of moderate to severe pain resulting from injuries, bursitis, arthritis, and cancer.
  • Repeated use leads to tolerance and dependence - individuals abuse OxyContin® for the euphoric effect that it produces- similar to that associated with heroin use.
  • OxyContin® Tablets are chewed or crushed and then snorted or injected.
  • Individuals of all ages abuse OxyContin®. OxyContin® abuse among high school students is a particular problem.
  • Risks include: tolerance for the drug, meaning they must take increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effects, dependence and addiction.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, involuntary leg movements.
  • Individuals who take a large dose of OxyContin® are at risk of severe respiratory depression that can lead to Death. Inexperienced and new users are at particular risk, because they may be unaware of what constitutes a large dose and have not developed a tolerance for the drug.


  • Methadone is a synthetic narcotic used legally to treat addiction to narcotics and relieve severe pain-in individuals who have cancer or are terminally ill.
  • Methadone tablets are designed to be swallowed or dissolved in liquid.
  • Methadone abuse in high school students is a growing concern.
  • Risks are addiction, tolerance; overdose symptoms include respiratory depression, decrease heart rate, coma and death.


  • First synthesized in Belgium in the late 1950s fentanyl, with an analgesic potency of about 80 times that of morphine, was introduced into medical practice in the 1960s as an intravenous anesthetic (Sublimaze®)
  • Today's fentanyls are extensively used for anesthesia and analgesia. Duragesic® is a fentanyl transdermal patch used in chronic pain management and Actiq® is a solid formulation of fentanyl citrate on a stick that dissolves slowly in the mouth for transmucosal absorption.