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Addiction Glossary of Terms


Substances that act on opioid receptors to alter the way pain is felt. Found in prescription medications intended to relieve pain, opioids include opiates, which refers to drugs derived from the opium plant; as well as semi-synthetic and synthetic drugs. Used for a prolonged period of time, discontinued use of opioids results in withdrawal symptoms.


A semisynthetic opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain by changing the way the brain responds to pain signals. Oxycodone can be found in solitary form as a prescription, like OxyContin, or in multi-ingredient prescriptions, like Percocet.


An FDA approved opioid addiction treatment that allows individuals who’ve become addicted to other opioids to discontinue abuse with minimized withdrawal side-effects.


A recreational drug in the opioid family, some drug abusers turn to heroin after becoming dependent on oxycodone because heroin is more easily obtained at a lower cost. Prolonged abuse is associated with physical dependence, creating severe withdrawal symptoms upon discounting use.


A synthetic opioid with a rapid onset and short duration. Used to relieve pain, Fentanyl is a potent drug, approximately 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade heroin.

Polysubstance abuse

A substance use disorder in which at least three different classes of addictive substances are abused over a 12 month period.


A prescription psychostimulant used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Some also abuse Adderall and use it as an athletic performance and cognitive enhancer, and recreationally as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant.


Also known as cannabis, marijuana is a derivative of the Cannabis plant and is used as a psychoactive drug or medicine. The drug can be used legally to treat or alleviate symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions, such as pain and nausea. However, marijuana is predominantly used illegally, without prescription.


A strong stimulant recreational drug that produces intense mental effects and sensations, like overwhelming happiness or agitation. Cocaine also effects the body, with high doses resulting in very high blood pressure and high body temperature.


A medication used to treat alcoholism in conjunction with counseling and support. Antabuse works by hindering the way the body processes alcohol in turn causing the feeling of an instant hangover when alcohol is consumed.