These drugs are often called things like hillbilly heroin by the media and you may know them as oxys or even by their brand name. Usually used to legitimately treat pain, opiate painkillers are also often 'diverted' and used illegally.

Opioid painkillers are medicines that are usually prescribed to people for pain. As the name suggests they are an opioid which means they are depressants similar to drugs such as heroin.

There are heaps of different brand names and nicknames including Tylenol III, Demerol, Vicodin, Percocet, morphine, hillbilly heroin, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, MS Contin, oxies, Panadiene, Panadiene Forte,  Codiene, Mersyndol, captain cody,  schoolboy, doors and fours, loads, M, monkey, white stuff, demmies, pain killer, apache, China girl, goodfella, jackpot or TNT.

Opioid painkillers are often bought and sold on the street and used by people who they aren’t prescribed for. Non-prescribed use is illegal. Opioid painkillers come as tablets or capsules in various shapes and colours, sometimes ground into powder or liquid. They are swallowed or injected and occasionally snorted.

The effects of opiate painkillers include pain relief, feelings of wellbeing, relaxation and sleepiness as well as constipation, vomiting, sweating, itching.

If you had too many opiates you might have shallow breathing, bluish lips, or an inability to be roused or woken. Call an ambulance if anything like this happens for you or someone you are with.

If you use painkillers then if nothing else, make sure you know these ways to be as safe as possible.

If you think you may have a problem, check out where you are at with the “working it out with YoDAA” tool.
  • Avoid using opioid painkillers outside of a prescription
  • If injecting, use safe injecting practices and seek special advice about injecting pills
  • Understand snorting and injecting delivers a more concentrated immediate dose
  • Avoid using opioid painkillers with other substances especially other depressants such as benzos or alcohol because this significantly increases the risk of overdose.
  • Call an ambulance if an overdose is suspected

Want more? This info is the bare minimum to give you the heads up. Check out the ADF's comprehensive info on painkillers which includes opioid painkillers.