Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Emergency - 703-573-5679 Detox - 703-502-7000 (24/7)

TTY 711

8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22031

Daryl Washington,
Executive Director

What is addiction? What are opioids?

What is addiction?

What are opioids?

Opioids act on the brain and produce a euphoric effect.

  • Often prescribed to relieve pain. Morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, methadone and fentanyl are all opioids.
  • The illegal drug, heroin, is also an opioid.
  • Highly addictive, even lethal, if used improperly.
  • Heroin laced with carfentanil (an opioid tranquilizer used on large animals) and fentanyl has appeared in illegal drug markets and is extremely dangerous for humans.

Photo of 2 milligrams carfentanil next to a penny
Fentanyl image
Winnipeg Police Service


  • Used for pain management for Stage 4 cancer patients.
  • Ten times more potent than heroin.
  • Lethal dose of pure fentanyl is about the size of a few grains of salt.
  • In 2020 in Fairfax County, police reporting indicates fentanyl has beenĀ found combined with cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine and synthetic cannabinoids.


  • Now present in illegal U.S. drug markets.
  • 10,000 times more potent than morphine; 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
  • Depresses the central nervous system and ability to breathe.
  • Tiny particles (through nose, mouth, injection) can create life-threatening effects within minutes of exposure.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant