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Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic (lab-made) opioids such as fentanyl and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin ® ), hydrocodone (Vicodin ® ), codeine, morphine and many others. 

Fentanyl, both prescription and illicitly made, has contributed to a dramatic rise in drug overdose deaths in the United States. It is a powerful synthetic opioid that is FDA-approved to treat severe pain related to surgery or complex pain conditions. Over the past decade, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that are made and distributed illegally (sometimes called “illicitly manufactured fentanyl”) have been increasingly found in the drug supply.

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