An opioid (sometimes called opiate) drug is a prescription drug that is used to relieve pain.  They are derived from the poppy plant and are prescribed under the more commonly known names of codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as others.


Many do not realize that the same ingredient used to make these prescription medications is chemically altered into the illegal drug heroin.


Often times, heroin addiction starts by taking opioid prescription medications.  A person can easily become addicted to one of these painkillers in just one prescription.  The body builds a tolerance to the medication, requiring the individual to take more and more of it to experience the same level of relief.  Over time, the person is taking more than prescribed and becomes dependent on the medication in a different way.  They no longer need it to feel better, but to avoid feeling sick from the addiction.


If a person becomes addicted to a prescription opioid and can no longer obtain prescriptions legally, they may turn to heroin as a replacement.


Sadly, an injury, accident, or surgery, where a prescription opioid is used for pain management, can lead to a lifelong illness and addiction if not carefully managed.


For more information on opioid addiction, visit www.drugabuse.gov.


Fentanyl is manufactured legally as a prescription pain medication often used for cancer patients and is administered by means of injection, patch, lozenges or lollipops. This drug is an opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin.


Fentanyl is also illegally produced and sold in the following forms: as a powder; spiked on blotter paper; mixed with or substituted for heroin; or as tablets that mimic other less potent opioids. The potency greatly increases the risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains Fentanyl.


High doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as Fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death.


Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid and is so powerful that it's used to sedate large animals such as elephants and rhinos. It is so strong that just a few granules the size of table salt can be lethal. The Drug Enforcement Agency says it’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times deadlier than Fentanyl.


Fentanyl & Carfentanil is being laced in heroin, marijuana and cocaine, and is being pressed into illegally manufactured pills.

Krokodil (Desomorphine)

Desomorphine, known by the street name krokodil, is an opioid by-product of codeine mixed with other toxic chemicals, and is very similar to heroin. This drug is 8- 10 times more potent than morphine. Like heroin and other opioids, it has a sedative effect, is highly addictive, and dangerous. Withdrawal from krokodil is much worse than heroin and could last for a month.


Krokodil gets its name from the fact that the acidic drug causes an addict’s skin to become green, scaly and bumpy like a crocodile’s. If the drug misses a vein and is injected into flesh, that flesh will develop abscesses. It is common for addicts to develop gangrene and require amputations. The flesh on some body parts affected by krokodil injections will rot off completely, leaving bare bone.


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(301) 759-5050

12501-12503 Willowbrook Road, PO Box 1745

Cumberland, Maryland 21501-1745

OUR MISSION: Prescribe Change Allegany County’s mission is to create awareness and educate the citizens of Allegany County,
Maryland about the growing crisis of opioid prescription drugs, and heroin misuse and abuse in our community.