About Opioids​

What are opioids?

Opioids are narcotic drugs that relieve pain by decreasing the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain. Some opioids can be prescribed by a medical provider and others are illegal.

What are f​entapills?

Fentapills are counterfeit (fake) pills that are designed to look exactly like real prescription pills, for example Percocet©, Vicodin© or Xanax©. These fake pills often contain fentanyl and can cause a deadly overdose.

What forms do opioids come in?

Opioids can come in various forms including:

  • Pills in an assortment of colors
  • Powders (often white, brown or colored)
  • Dark, tar-like substance
  • Liquids, lollipops, syrups

What are the health consequences of opioids?

Short-term health effects

  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed physical activity
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Long-term health effects

  • Substance use disorder or dependence
  • Increased tolerance
  • Infertility in women
  • Liver damage
  • Worsening pain
  • Life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in babies

Taking opioids outside of a physician’s supervision can result in an overdose, which can be fatal. In 2022, nearly 7,000 Californians died from opioid-related overdoses.

Emerging and ​Existing Threats

Xylazine has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths nationwide. Xylazine is still a new and emerging issue in California, and there is no evidence to suggest that xylazine is common in California’s drug supply at this time.

Xylazine is not an opioid. It is a dangerous drug that is frequently found in combination with fentanyl. Known as “tranq,” xylazine is an animal tranqulizer that has been added to the fentanyl supply in the United States. Learn more about the dangers of xylazine​.

Mixing drugs is especially dangerous

Taking opioids with other drugs increases the risk of life-threatening overdose.

Whether intentional or not, mixing drugs significantly increases the risk of harm. Drugs taken together can interact in ways that increase their overall effect. Mixing drugs or mixing drugs with alcohol is associated with a greater risk of overdose. Multiple prescription medications should only be taken under physician supervision.​

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