The Opioid Epidemic campaign ran from September 2018 to January 2019. This campaign’s pages are no longer actively maintained.

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What is an Opioid?

Opiates are drugs derived from opium, a type of plant, and share analgesic properties with opioids. Often the term, “opioid,” is used for prescriptions and the term, “narcotic,” is used for illicit drugs, but for simplicity, opioid is often used as an all-encompassing term.

Opioids are primarily prescribed as a treatment for pain. Unfortunately, the addictive characteristics of opioids were not well understood before this class of drugs became a common prescription for patients.

Names for Opioids

Below is a list of the most common names used for opioids:

  • Generic Names for Prescription Opioids: Buprenorphine, Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Meperidine, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Tramadol
  • Brand Names for Prescription Opioids: OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet®, Kadian®, Avinza®, MS Contin®, Duramorph®, Roxanol®, Duragesic®, Actiq®, Sublimaze®, Dilaudid®, Demerol®, Opana®
  • Slang/Street Names for Prescription Opioids: Biscuits, Blue Heaven, Blues, Captain Cody, Cody, D, Demmies, Dillies, Footballs, Hillbilly Heroin, Juice, Lean, M, Miss Emma, Monkey, Mrs. O, O Bomb, Octagons, Oxy, Oxycet, Oxycotton, Percs, Purple Drank, Schoolboy, Sizzurp, Smack, Stop Signs, Vike, Watson-387, White Stuff
  • Illegal Opioids: Heroin, fentanyl, and any prescription opioids sold on the black market.
  • Slang/Street Names for Heroin and Fentanyl: Apache, Brown Sugar, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Dope, Friend, Good Fella, H, Hell Dust, Horse, Jackpot, Junk, Murder 8, Negra, Tango and Cash, Skag, Smack, Tar, Tango and Cash, Thunder, TNT, White Horse

This list is not comprehensive. Contact a pharmacist or your healthcare provider if you are unsure about a prescription you have received.

Prevalence: National, Virginia, and Charlottesville Community

In 2016, overdoses exceeded deaths from motor vehicle crashes and gun violence combined.

From July 2016 through September 2017, the CDC reports that emergency departments across the country saw an average increase of 30% for visits relating to opioid overdoses.  According to a report published by SAMHSA, approximately 11.8 million people over the age of 12 misused opioids during the previous year.

The Virginia Department of Health maintains an online dashboard for tracking the epidemic of opioid overdose and opioid-related hospital visits. In 2016, there were 8,710 opioid overdose-related visits to emergency departments within Virginia. It is anticipated that the use of fentanyl and heroin will continue to increase, while the use of prescription opioids decreases, as doctors implement new prescribing guidelines and users seek alternate sources.

Charlottesville Incidence is Relatively Low

In 2016, the “Number and Rate of All Fatal Opioid Overdoses by Locality of Injury” within Charlottesville City and Albemarle County came to 8 deaths. UVA Emergency Department visits and hospital admissions to the UVA Health System Emergency Department are relatively low compared to the rest of the state. Unfortunately, Fairfax County, Norfolk City, Richmond City and Virginia Beach City led the state in 2016 with 80, 71, 79 and 72 deaths respectively.

According to data provided by the Charlottesville Police Department, over the past six years, April 1st, 2012 through March 31st, 2018, there was an average of 364 reported narcotics incidents and 217 narcotics arrests per year.