Man sitting at the dining room table looking at the label on a prescription medication bottle.
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  • Opioids are a class of drugs that include synthetic opioids such as fentanyl; pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine; the illegal drug heroin; and many others.
  • Use of opioids, either by themselves or in combination with other drugs, is a major driver of the drug overdose crisis in the United States. The vast majority of overdose deaths in recent years involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other potent, synthetic opioids, which may be added to other drugs and consumed unknowingly.
  • NIDA plays a leading role in the National Institutes of Health HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term®) Initiative, an effort to develop new scientific solutions to the national opioid addiction and overdose public health crisis and to improve pain management.

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