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Other Substances

Drug use and its resulting health effects can change as new trends and drug formulations emerge and become more widely used. For more information on commonly used drugs, visit the National Institute of Health.

RX Drugs

The term prescription refers to medicines that are safe and effective when used under a doctor’s care, whereas nonprescription or OTC drugs are medicines the FDA determines are safe and effective for use without a doctor’s prescription. Used as prescribed and directed, medicine improves lives.

While some people misuse certain types of medicine to “get high,” many are simply trying to cope or manage the stress in their lives. Prescription stimulants, pain relievers, sedatives and tranquilizers, and even over-the-counter cough medicine are commonly misused or abused for these reasons.


One of the types of prescription drugs that are misused are opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and prescription pain relievers such as hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin®), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin®,  Percocet®), oxymorphone (e.g., Opana®), morphine (e.g., Kadian®, Avinza®), Tylenol® with codeine and more. Opioids have been used for hundreds of years to address pain and, since the 1990’s, to treat chronic pain.

Substances in the News

Vermont Resources

National Resources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-RX Awareness Campaign DC’s Rx Awareness campaign tells the stories of people whose lives were impacted by prescription opioids. The goals of the campaign are to increase awareness that prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous, to reinforce that help is available for those suffering from an opioid use disorder, and to encourage those struggling with prescription opioids to visit the campaign website to locate help and resources. Rx Awareness launched in 2017 and focuses on adults ages 25–54 who have taken opioids for medical use or have misused opioids at least once.The goals of the campaign are to:
    • Increase awareness that prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous.
    • Lower prescription opioid misuse.
    • Increase the number of patients seeking nonopioid pain management options.
    • Increase awareness about recovery and reduce stigma.
  • From the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Medicine Abuse Project: HEROIN, FENTANYL& OTHER OPIOIDS: A Comprehensive Resource for Families with a Teen or Young Adult Struggling with Opioid Use