What a legal drug that kills more Americans than heroin does to your mind and body

Despite being legal with a doctor’s prescription, opioid painkillers can come with serious health risks.

The drugs belong to a larger class of drugs known as opioids, which includes legal, lab-produced drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine as well as illegal drugs like heroin. Since they slow breathing and act on the same brain systems as heroin, opioid painkillers carry serious risks, from overdose to, in rarer cases, addiction.

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