These Meds Could Make You Dead.

Drugs commonly associated with overdoses.

Too much of just about any substance can be dangerous. “Overdosing” on many over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamin supplements, and even products containing sugar can be damaging to your health.

When it comes to prescription medications and illegal drugs, the line between safe use and deadly is razor thin—and just like a razor blade, an overdose from these substances can kill anyone, no matter their size, weight, or degree of health.

That’s why you should always know what you’re taking, and how much you should take, to avoid an accidental overdose. Keep reading for a quick primer on the legal and illegal drugs most commonly associated with lethal overdoses.


Both naturally occurring opiates (extracts of the poppy plant) and synthetic opioids are most often prescribed to treat pain. Unfortunately, they are dangerous and addictive substances. Opioids, both legal and illegal, are now a leading cause of overdoses in Mississippi and nationwide. Read about several common opioids below.



Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid often produced illegally in powder, pill, or liquid form. In prescription form, it’s often sold as a patch and under the brand names Actiq, Duragesic, “Fentanyl Transdermal System,” Fentora, or Sublimaze. Many illicit drugs are poisoned with a deadly dose of fentanyl.

Street Names for Fentanyl: Apache, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison, Tango & Cash



Often prescribed for post-surgery pain or to manage severe day-to-day pain. It’s known by the brand names Oxaydo, OxyContin, Oxyfast, Roxicodone, RoxyBond, and Xtampza ER. Oxycodone is also present in: Combunox, Endocet, Endodan, Moxduo, Oxycodan, Percocet, Percodan, Primlev, Roxicet, Xartemis XR, and others.

Street Names for Oxycodone: 512s, Blue Dynamite, OC, Oxy, “Oxycotton,” Paulas, Perks (or Percs), Roxy (or Rocksies)



Codeine is prescribed only to those 18 or older for pain relief, but variations of the drug are also present in various over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as cough syrups and cold medicines.

Street Names for Codeine: Captain Cody, Cody, Lean, Purple drank, Sizzurp, “Pancakes & syrup”


Protonitazene is one of several narcotics categorized as “nitazene” drugs, which are not controlled and have no approved medical use. Protonitazene appears to be three times more potent than fentanyl—and three times more dangerous. Learn more.

Street Names for Protonitazene: Authorities are still discovering how dealers and users refer to this new and dangerous drug.



Hydrocodone is a pain medication typically available as an extended-release capsule or tablet designed to work all day. The most well-known brand is Vicodin, but it may also be prescribed as Hysingla or Zohydro. It’s a powerful painkiller used to treat pain, especially following surgery. Since Vicodin tends to be the most popularly abused form of Hydrocodone, many street names are fashioned after it.

Street Names for Hydrocodone: Hydro, Narco, Norco, Vickies, Vike


Heroin is derived from the poppy plant

Heroin is not a prescription medication; it is strictly illegal in the U.S. and most countries. It’s most often seen as a white or brownish powder, and sometimes as a black tar-like substance (often called Black Tar Heroin).

Other Names for Heroine: Big H (or simply H), Black Tar, Hell Dust, Horse, Smack, Thunder



Morphine is an extended-release medication for severe pain that requires around-the-clock attention. Brand names include AVINza, Kadian, Morphabond, MS Contin, Oramorph, Roxanol.

Street Names for Morphine: Dreamer, M, Mister Blue, Monkey, Morf, Morpho

Stimulants and Non-opioid Substances

Opioids may have become the most common cause of drug overdoses in the nation and Mississippi, but using or abusing other drugs can lead to an overdose as well. From stimulants to depressants, legal to illegal, read about some of these dangerous drugs below.



Cocaine is an extremely addictive and illegal stimulant that is most commonly snorted, but may also be smoked or injected. Its most common form is a fine, crystal powder that can also be crystalized to make “crack,” an even more addictive form of cocaine that is most often smoked. Cocaine releases inhibitions and a craving for excitement that can lead to a desire for more cocaine—and an overdose.

Other Names for Cocaine: Blow, Coke, Crack, Snow or Snow White, Dust, among others



Kratom the drug comes from Kratom the tree, native to tropical regions in Southeast Asia. Substances derived from the leaves of this tree have stimulant and/or sedative effects depending on the amount taken. Kratom leaves can be chewed, smoked, ground into pills, or even brewed as a tea. It can also cause an OD.

Other Names for Kratom: Thang, kakuam, thom, ketum, biak

Download the DEA’s Kratom Fact Sheet (PDF).



Methamphetamine is an especially addictive stimulant in the form of an odorless white crystal powder with a bitter taste. Meth is snorted, smoked, or injected, or sometimes taken orally dissolved in water or alcohol. Meth delivers a feeling of euphoria very quickly, but the feeling fades quickly as well, prompting users to do more which can lead to an overdose.

Other Names for Methamphetamines: Meth, Crystal, Chalk, Ice, Crank, Speed, among others

Sedatives   (Also known as Depressants)

The most common sedatives are prescription drugs sold under the brand names of Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and others. Whether consisting of benzodiazepine, barbiturates, glutethimide, chloral hydrate, meprobamate, or methaqualone, they are most often prescribed for pain relief, sleep problems, anxiety, or seizures. High doses can lead to addiction, dependence, and a high risk of overdose.

Street Names for Sedatives:  Often named after colors: Blues, Pinks, Reds, Yellows, or paired with another word, such as Blue Devils, Red Birds, Yellow Jackets, etc.


A controlled substance, xylazine is a powerful tranquilizer intended for use by veterinarians for the treatment of animals. The drug is not approved for human use, and can be extremely dangerous. Increasingly, xylazine is mixed or “cut” into illegal drugs such as fentanyl or heroin enhance or increase their euphoric effects, and make them last longer. Unfortunately, the addition of xylazine also increases the chance of an overdose.

The specific effects of xylazine  include dizziness, sleepiness, decreased body temperature, low heart rate and blood pressure, and decreased breathing. Another, more curious side effect of xylazine is the increased risk for severe wounds that may spread and/or worsen very quickly without immediate attention.

Street Names for Xylazine: Anestesia de Caballo (Spanish for Horse Anesthesia), Tranq


Ecstacy pills

An illegal synthetic drug, ecstasy is the most common slang term for (deep breath) methylenedioxymethamphetamine (more easily pronounced MDMA). Often associated with nightclubs and parties, it is a powerful stimulant with hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy most often comes in tablet form, but it can also be a powder, and delivers feelings of extreme relaxation, but with an ironic burst of energy as well. An overdose of this drug can cause a heart attack or stroke, kidney failure, or other serious side effects that could result in death.

Street Names for Ecstasy: X, E, or XTC, Candy, Dancing Shoes or Disco Biscuits, Hug Drug, Love Drug, Molly, Scooby Snacks, Skittles, Vitamin X