Drug Facts Chat Day: Opioids

What are the health effects of misusing prescription opioids?

Natural opioids come from the poppy plant, but similar drugs can also be made in a lab. Extra strong, dangerous opioids like fentanyl are now being added to street drugs, causing thousands of overdoses and deaths. Opioids can make you feel really relaxed and happy—but they can also cause harmful effects like extreme sleepiness, confusion, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Opioids attach to receptors in your brain, causing a large amount of the hormone dopamine to be released, reinforcing the feeling of extreme relaxation. But over time, opioids can lead to insomnia, muscle pain, heart infections, pneumonia, and addiction. Sometimes addiction to opioids can happen quickly.