What is an Opioid?

Opiates are drugs derived from the poppy plant or synthetic chemical equivalents.
The medical use of opiates is to alleviate pain, decrease cough, and to treat opiate addiction.

Some of their side effects are euphoria and sleepiness. Some common opiates are morphine,
heroin,and codeine. Opiates are sometimes referred to by the broader term, “narcotics.”
While Opiates have been used as pain killers for hundreds of years,
they have also been used recreationally and abused for many years.

What is an Opioid Overdose?

Opioid overdose happens when a toxic amount of an opioid—alone or mixed with other opioid(s),
drugs and/or substances—overwhelms the body’s ability to handle it.

Many opioid-related overdoses result from mixing prescription painkillers or heroin with
benzodiazepines (benzos), cocaine and/or alcohol.

Treatment, Training, and Prevention

Treatment – The Charles County Department of Health provides treatment of opiate disorders and other substance use disorders in a variety of ways. We have treatment professionals who provide individual and group treatment to clients from 1 to 9 hours a week. Each person is evaluated and treatment is tailored to their unique needs. Peer support specialists and community health outreach workers help individuals connect to community resources and access other levels of care. Our jail based treatment program begins treatment for individuals while they are incarcerated.

Training – A weekly family support group meets to discuss ways to support substance using loved ones, to avoid encouraging destructive behavior, and to care for themselves when the addiction is creating chaos in their world. We also train people to use Narcan (Naloxone) to reverse opioid overdoses. We offer Narcan training at the Department of Health to the public every week and off site as available.  For more information and schedule of trainings call 301-609-6661.


Prevention – The staff provides information on substance use disorder prevention to students, health department clients, and community groups. Information on prevention of opioid abuse is provided in our lobbies, and is presented at all events that the Health Department attends. Our staff is available to give presentations to the public on opiate abuse and overdose to groups throughout the county.



Helpful Links

Naloxone FAQs

Naloxone Saves Lives

Overdose Response Program

Opioid Response Resources