Prescription opioids

  • fentanyl
  • codeine
  • methadone
  • morphine
  • oxycodone
  • biodone
  • physeptone
  • hydromorphone
  • jurnista
  • buprenorphine
Are opioids a problem for you?
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What are opioids?

Opioids are natural drugs derived from the opium poppy or synthetic drugs, and have a depressant or sedating effect, causing the brain and central nervous system to slow down.

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Prescription opioids

Opioids have a strong pain-killing effect, therefore pharmaceutical opioids may be prescribed for medical conditions, particularly for acute or cancer pain management. Pharmaceutical opioids include morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, buprenorphine, tapentadol, tramadol and codeine.

Immediate effects can include

  • pain relief
  • feeling of wellbeing
  • reduced anxiety / calmness
  • sleepiness

Effects depend on...

How much you take, how often you have been using opioids (the longer you use, the more you may build up a tolerance to the effects), when you last took opioids, how pure the opioid is, your height and weight, your general health, your past experience with drugs, whether you use opioids on their own or with other drugs.

Opioids can come in the form of illicit or illegal drugs such as heroin or diverted pharmaceutical opioids used for non-medical purposes. Heroin or other illegally obtained opioids may be cut or mixed with other drugs or substances, it is therefore hard to know how strong the drug is and this can lead to accidental overdose or death. Using opioids in combination with other drugs (such as sleeping tablets, other sedatives and alcohol) can also lead to accidental overdose or death.

  • pupils of the eye become smaller
  • sweating
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shallow breathing

How opioids affects your body

Tap a body part to learn more of the effects Heroin places on your body.

Long term effects can include

  • overdose (the longer you use opioids, the greater your risk of overdose)
  • long-term and severe constipation
  • teeth problems
  • increased risk of contracting Hepatitis C and HIV
  • infertility (women)
  • impotence (men)
  • damaged veins from injecting
  • skin abscesses (sores with pus)
  • loss of appetite
  • irregular or no menstrual period (women)
  • heart and lung problems
  • infections of the blood

General Information

Are opioids a problem for you?

See full support list
  • The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) is a free and confidential counselling helpline for NSW residents with concerns around alcohol and/or drug misuse and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ADIS is staffed by professional counsellors who provide education, information, counselling, support and referrals to other appropriate services in NSW.

    Are you worried you could be drinking too much or consuming drugs in a way that has become a problem? Are you worried about your friends or family finding out and want to get help quickly and quietly? Are you worried about the drug use of someone close to you – maybe a family member or friend? Maybe you just want to know where someone can get help? 

    ADIS clinicians understand the difficulties of speaking out, seeking help and finding appropriate drug and alcohol treatment, and use their knowledge and experience to assist you and answer questions, such as:

    • How can I cut-down or stop my alcohol or drug use?
    • What help can I get?
    • Do I have to wait long to get help?
    • Can anyone ring ADIS?
    • Who do I talk to when I ring ADIS?
    • Will drug and alcohol treatments be difficult?
    • What is this drug doing to me?
    • What are the short and long term problems that could develop if I continue using?
    • Will ADIS tell anyone that I rang?
    • What can I expect when I ring?
    • Does ADIS record calls?

    You can call ADIS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 250 015 or for Sydney Metropolitan 02 8382 1000 or alternatively you can start a Web Chat.

    ADIS Web Chat is available from Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm (including public holidays).

    ADIS also has a range of telephone lines offering specialised drug and alcohol information and support to particular groups.

    24 hour support line

    1800 250 015

    More about Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW
  • Family Drug Support (FDS) provides support and assistance to families throughout Australia who are experiencing difficulty with a family member using alcohol or other drugs.

    FDS is a non-religious, non-judgemental and caring organisation of volunteers who have first-hand experience living with family members experiencing alcohol or drug dependency.

    FDS supports families by providing information about alcohol and other drugs, dependence and treatment options, while also helping families to overcome stigma and reduce self-blame, provide mutual support and help families build skills to strengthen their relationships.

    FDS provide a 24 hour, 7 days a week support line for families, support groups and meetings, the 'Stepping Stones' and 'Stepping Forward' courses, events and resources.

    Find out how FDS can help you.

    24 hour support line

    1300 368 186

    More about Family Drug Support (FDS)
  • Families, friends and loved ones can play a critical role in the recovery of people who experience alcohol and other drug problems, however they are often focused on the needs of others while they neglect their own their own health and wellbeing.

    The Family and Friend Support Program (FFSP) is an online cognitive behavioural therapy program to support people who are caring for or supporting someone with alcohol and other drug use issues.

    FFSP is based on a series of modules and includes information and activities on how families and friends can help their loved ones, with a specific emphasis on the person providing the support and their often unmet needs. The program is also suitable for health professionals.

    For information on how to start a conversation with your loved one about their alcohol and or other drug use, tips on how to look after yourself and other resources visit our For Families mini-site.

    Cost

    The program is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    Please note that for Health Professionals there are costs involved in the 5-step training. Details about the training can be found on the Health Professionals portal in FFSP (under the icon 5-step).

    The FFSP is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

    More about Family and Friend Support Program
  • PeerLine is confidential service run by the NSW Users and AIDS Association (NUAA). NUAA works to improve the health, welfare and dignity of people who use drugs. 

    PeerLine is a free, confidential peer supported telephone service for people who use drugs, who are on the Opioid Treatment Program or seeking treatment. Trained peers will help you with information, advice and advocacy

    NUAA-PeerLine-FullLogo.png

    PeerLine is available from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

    Call for free on 1800 644 413 or email peerline@nuaa.org.au to connect.

    Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

    1800 644 413

    More about NUAA PeerLine
  • The NSW Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) is an evidence-based public health program that aims to reduce the transmission of infections such as HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs. NSP outlets provide sterile injecting equipment such as needles and syringes, Fitpacks and other injecting equipment (such as swabs, water, spoons and cotton balls) as well as disposal facilities free of charge.

    NSP outlets are staffed by specialist workers who provide access to sterile injecting equipment, promote safe disposal practices and facilitate referrals to health, welfare and community services as needed. NSP outlets may also be able to assist with testing for blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C. You may not even require a blood test such as with the Dried Blood Spot (DBS) test. Ask your NSP staff member or visit dbstest.health.nsw.gov.au for more information. 

    Who is the program for?

    The NSP is for people who inject drugs to avoid contracting or transmitting blood borne diseases and to provide a place for safe disposal of sharps containers (needles and syringes).

    NSP Outlets in NSW

    To help the community access the program, an interactive map has been developed listing all public NSP outlets across NSW. Use the map below to find your nearest NSP outlet or refer to the NSP listing by suburb page for details.

    If you would like further information and/or advice call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015.

    More about NSW Needle and Syringe Program (NSP)
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