Opioid dependence – in the form of prescription pain medications, methadone, opium and heroin – is a growing problem that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s time to stop the epidemic.

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Today’s Drugs: Narcan, Opiates, and Opioids

Part of the Today’s Drugs series, Kevin Hunter, Captain of the Vice & Narcotics Division at the Fort Wayne Police Department shares what we should know about Naloxone (Narcan). (9:52 minutes)

On Second Thought, “No Thanks”

In 30 seconds,  a woman describes how a decision to take opioid pain pills could forever change her life. (0:30 seconds)

Today’s Drugs: Opioids

Part of the Today's Drugs series, Kevin Hunter, Captain of the Vice & Narcotics Division at the Fort Wayne Police Department shares what we should all know about opioids.   (7:22 minutes)

Today’s Drugs: Addiction 101

Part of the Today’s Drugs series, Megan Fisher, MA, MHS, LCAC, LMHCA, CADAC IV, and a Director of Addiction Recovery Services at a large mental health center, shares what we should all know about addiction. (5:53 minutes)

The Hijacker – Addiction Series (Episode 1)

Substance use disorders (SUDs) affect tissue function in two main parts of the brain. This is what it means when scientists say that addiction is a brain disease. (3:17 minutes)

How to Administer Naloxone (Narcan) for Opioid Overdose

Naloxone can be obtained from a participating pharmacy without having to see a doctor, and could be life-saving in the event of an overdose. (5:01 minutes)

Time to Change Our Thought Process about Addiction

Dr. Gregory Eigner and Dick Boggess, a licensed clinical addictions counselor, share their thoughts about addiction, including the changes needed in opioid prescribing habits for […] (4:58 Minutes)

State Health Commissioner Talks About Opioid Epidemic in Indiana

Dr. Jerome Adams, Indiana Health Commissioner, talks about what Hoosiers can do to prevent overdose deaths. (4:32 minutes)

Mom Shares Story of Son’s Path from Young Athlete to Addict

This is a personal story about a golf professional who inadvertently became addicted to prescription opiate medication. (5:22 minutes)

Attention Parents: Common Hiding Places for Drugs

Captain Kevin Hunter, Vice and Narcotics Division, Fort Wayne Police Department, guides parents on areas to look in their child’s bedroom (8:16 Minutes)

Today’s Drugs: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Part of the Today’s Drugs series, Megan Fisher, MA, MHS, LCAC, LMHCA, CADAC IV, and a Director of Addiction Recovery Services at a large mental health center, shares what we should all know about Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for addiction. (13:43 minutes)

Opioid Addiction and the Brain

Dr. Sayeh Beheshti, MD explains the biochemical mechanisms of opioid and heroin addiction. (17:35 minutes)

Young Hearts

WTHR in Randolph County, Indiana reports on teen heroin use. (6:52 minutes)

A Personal Story: Painkiller Addiction

Katie Couric reports on painkiller addiction, and shares one woman’s personal story. An addiction which began with surgery. (10:15 minutes)

Heroin Lives Here

A Northeast Indiana resident talks about his son’s addiction, and the prescription drugs that contributed to it. (5:28 minutes)

Criminal Court Judge: “We can’t arrest our way out of this!”

A criminal court judge’s perspective of the opiate crisis: “We can’t arrest our way out of this!” This Allen County judge talks about the need […] (4:18 Minutes)

Heroin in the Heartland – Part 2

WLWT in Cincinnati discusses the epidemic of opiate addiction, and what law enforcement is doing to address the problem. (29:53 minutes)

Heroin in the Heartland – Part 1

WLWT in Cincinnati uncovers the heartbreak of heroin addiction and how it affects newborns and teens. (29:53 minutes)

What is Addiction?

Provided by the Addiction Policy Forum, this short video provides a good animation to better understand addiction (substance use disorder) (4:11 Minutes)

A Nurse Addicted to Heroin

It can happen to anyone.  "She refused to get help because she was full of shame.  She was full of guilt. She didn't want anybody to know."  (4:52 minutes)

What are opioids?

Opioids include prescription medications used to treat pain such as morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and buprenorphine, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit potent opioids such as fentanyl analogs (e.g., carfentanil).  These highly addictive drugs are all derived from the poppy plant.

Eighty percent of opiate painkillers produced in the world are consumed by Americans.

Fifty-two million people in the U.S. have used prescription drugs non medically.

How do opioids work?

Opioids work by binding to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. In doing so, they diminish the body’s perception of pain. However, opioids can also have an impact on other systems of the body, such as altering mood, slowing breathing, and causing constipation. Opioid receptor binding causes the signs and symptoms of overdose as well as the euphoric effects or “high” with opioid use.

How does overdose occur?

Opioid overdose can be due to many factors. For example, overdose can occur when a patient deliberately misuses a prescription, uses an illicit opioid (such as heroin), or uses an opioid contaminated with other even more potent opioids (such as fentanyl).  It can also occur when opioids are taken with other medications—for example, prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines or other psychotropic medications that are used in the treatment of mental disorders—or with illicit drugs or alcohol that may have adverse interactions with opioids.

Anyone who uses opioids for long-term management of chronic pain is at risk for opioid overdose, as are individuals who use heroin or misuse prescription pain relievers.

In the past several years, the purity of street heroin has drastically increased, allowing it to be snorted instead of having to be injected. The purity of heroin is never known to consumers. It can be cut with more potent drugs or diluted. This uncertainty drastically increases the chances of an overdose.

Opioid overdose-related deaths can be prevented when naloxone (Narcan) is administered in a timely manner.  Providers, persons at high risk, family members, and the general public should ensure ready access to naloxene to prevent and manage opioid overdose.

Other Risks

Every hour in the U.S., a baby is born with symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

Heroin users are at an increased risk for Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Can you develop a tolerance to opioids?

Tolerance develops when someone uses an opioid drug regularly so that his or her body becomes accustomed to the drug and needs a larger or more frequent dose to continue to experience the same effect. Loss of tolerance occurs when someone stops taking an opioid after long term use. When someone loses tolerance and then takes the opioid drug again, he or she can experience serious adverse effects, including overdose, even if the amount taken had not caused problems in the past.


*Provided by the SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit