WHAT ARE PAINKILLERS?

Prescription painkillers are powerful drugs that interfere with the nervous system’s transmission of the nerve signals we perceive as pain. Most painkillers also stimulate portions of the brain associated with pleasure. Thus, in addition to blocking pain, they produce a “high.”

The most powerful prescription painkillers are called opioids, which are opium-like1 compounds. They are manufactured to react on the nervous system in the same way as drugs derived from the opium poppy, like heroin. The most commonly abused opioid painkillers include oxycodone, hydrocodone, meperidine, hydromorphone and propoxyphene.

Oxycodone has the greatest potential for abuse and the greatest dangers. It is as powerful as heroin and affects the nervous system the same way. Oxycodone is sold under many trade names, such as Percodan, Endodan, Roxiprin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet and OxyContin. It comes in tablet form.

Hydrocodone is used in combination with other chemicals and is available in prescription pain medications as tablets, capsules and syrups. Trade names include Anexsia, Dicodid, Hycodan, Hycomine, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Tussionex and Vicodin. Sales and production of this drug have increased significantly in recent years, as has its illicit use.

Meperidine (brand name Demerol) and hydromorphone (Dilaudid) come in tablets and propoxyphene (Darvon) in capsules, but all three have been known to be crushed and injected, snorted or smoked. Darvon, banned in the UK since 2005, is among the top ten drugs reported in drug abuse deaths in the US. Dilaudid, considered eight times more potent than morphine, is often called “drug store heroin” on the streets.

“At the age of 20, I became an addict to a narcotic,2 which began with a prescription following a surgery. In the weeks that followed [the operation] in addition to orally abusing the tablet, crushing it up enabled me to destroy the controlled release mechanism and to swallow or snort the drug. It can also be injected to produce a feeling identical to shooting heroin. The physical withdrawal from the drug is nothing short of agonizing pain.” —James

  1. 1. opium: a brownish, gummy extract from the opium poppy.
  2. 2. narcotic: a drug affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which can cause dizziness, lack of coordination and unconsciousness.

STREET NAMES

PAINKILLERS:

Generic Name

Oxycodone

Propoxyphene

Hydromorphone

Meperidine

Hydrocodone

Brand Name

OxyContin

Percodan

Percocet

Roxiprin

Roxicet

Endodan

Endocet

Anexsia

Dicodid

Hycodan

Hycomine

Lorcet

Lortab

Norco

Tussionex

Vicodin

Darvon

Dilaudid

Demerol

Street Name

Oxy 80s

oxycotton

oxycet

hillbilly

heroin

percs

perks

pain killer

vikes

hydros

pinks

footballs