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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Synthetic opioids

Man-made drugs that mimic the effects of natural opioids (such as opium or heroin) but can be much more deadly. Most synthetic opioids are class A drugs which means they're illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Some synthetic opioids are used in the medical field as pain relievers or anaesthetics, others are produced and sold illicitly.

Also called:

  • Fentanyl

  • acetylfentanyl

  • carfentanyl

  • fentanyls

  • nitazenes

  • oxycodone

  • tramadol

What does it look like?

Synthetic opioids used in medicine mainly come as pills and capsules, patches, lollipops and solutions for injection. Illegally produced synthetic opioids can also be in a range of forms including pills or powder, often mixed with or replacing heroin. Illicit synthetic opioids are sometimes sold to look like medical opioids or, less commonly, benzodiazepines. They have also been found mixed with synthetic cannabinoids. They are often much more dangerous than what they are sold as or mixed with.

Can you get addicted?

Yes. As with other opiates, you can build a tolerance and become dependent on synthetic opioids.

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