ClickCease Most Commonly Used Opiates | Granite Recovery Centers | NH ME MA

What are the Most Commonly Used Opiates?

Authored by Granite Recovery Centers    Reviewed by James Gamache    Last Updated: August 27th, 2021

James Gamache Medical Reviewer
Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

New England is considered a high-intensity drug trafficking area, according to the Department of Justice. Heroin and prescription opiate addiction is reaching epidemic proportions. If you are struggling with opiate addiction, you should consider visiting an opiate addiction rehab center in New Hampshire. For those suffering from the most commonly used opiates, the opiate addiction rehab center in New Hampshire offers solutions to addiction and chronic pain.

Which Are the Most Commonly Used Opiates?

Any opiate can be a drug of abuse. However, these drugs are the most common. Some of them are common because of their availability, while others are sought out for their strength. Unfortunately, stronger opiates also have higher addiction potential.

The most commonly used opiates are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is often the first opiate that people use. It was the most commonly prescribed opiate drug from 2006-2010 and is still often the first opiate physicians to prescribe a patient for pain. It is milder than other opiates, with only codeine being weaker, yet still powerful enough to relieve moderate to severe pain. It takes tolerance longer to develop, which can allow patients to stay on lower doses of the drug and still find it effective.

Hydrocodone is commonly prescribed in tablets with 325 mg of acetaminophen. This can pose a risk to those looking for a high from the drug because they ingest too much Tylenol to get enough hydrocodone to get high on. Hydrocodone can easily be crushed and snorted. This gives the user a quicker onset and may increase the euphoric effects of the drug.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2016 revealed that 11.5 million people in the U.S. who are 12 and over have abused hydrocodone in the past year. This is down from 12.5 million in 2015, but still an alarming number. Clearly, hydrocodone is one of the most commonly used opiates, likely due to its perceived safety and availability.


Oxycodone is the next step up in potency from hydrocodone, and it is one of the most commonly-used opiates. In fact, it is the second most prescribed opiate, second to hydrocodone. In 2016, again, the perceived relative safety of the drug likely plays a part. Oxycodone can be prescribed in 5 or 10 mg tablets with acetaminophen like hydrocodone. Stronger oxycodone preparations do not contain acetaminophen and range from 10-80 mg.


In 2016, Fentanyl was responsible for more overdose deaths than prescription opiates, including hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone, and heroin. Fentanyl is so dangerous due to its potency. It is 100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin.
It is often prescribed in patches or lollipop forms for those with severe chronic pain that are tolerant to other opiates. It is also manufactured illegally and made into counterfeit pills or added to heroin to increase potency.


Heroin use is increasing, particularly in demographics where use used to be low. Women and those with middle class or higher incomes are becoming addicted to heroin. Heroin is one of the most commonly used opiates, despite it being illegal. In 2017, nearly 500,000 people had used heroin in the past year. This is a much lower number than the 11.5 million that misused hydrocodone. However, heroin continues to be a steadily increasing concern.

Prescription opiates have gotten harder to obtain in recent years. Those who seek out opiates may turn to heroin simply because it is available. They may also develop a tolerance to weaker opiates like hydrocodone. Heroin brings a very intense high, and with it an intense addiction very quickly. Users need the heroin detox center in New Hampshire to overcome this opiate addiction.

Granite Recovery Centers

If you are struggling with an addiction to these or other most commonly-used opiates, contact us today at 855.712.7784 . We offer medical and holistic detox and a wide range of treatment levels that can be tailored to your specific needs. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.

At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to provide accurate information about health and addiction so that our readers can make informed decisions.

We have credentialed medical doctors & clinicians who specialize in addiction treatment review the information on our website before it is published. We use credible sources such as government websites and journal articles when citing statistics or other medically related topics.