Drug Identification – The Opioid Crisis in America

The Opioid Crisis in America is an interactive two-part course in a series of Drug Identification training modules. The other courses in this series are Depressants, Antidepressants, and Inhalants and Stimulants.

This course provides an overview of the chemical and legal classification of opioids and examines the nationa​​l epidemic of opioid abuse. It provides key information and safety measures law enforcement and criminal justice providers should know when responding to opioid related events. Community response and other evidence-based practices are also discussed.



About This Course

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every day in America, 116 people die from an opioid overdose.[1]

As reported by the US Surgeon General in 2015, 1.5 million Americans aged 12 or older reported misusing sedatives in the past year. Furthermore, 6.1 million individuals reported misusing tranquilizers such as Xanax® in the past year[1] This is especially concerning as many of these individuals will mix sedatives and/or tranquilizers with alcohol, a depressant in its own right. This risky behavior increases the potential for overdose which can occur when critical areas in the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature stop functioning.[2] This course will identify the various types of commonly abused depressants, sedatives, anti-depressants and inhalants; discuss current trends relating to these substances; examine side effects and symptoms of abuse of these substances; discuss the synergistic effects of depressants mixed with alcohol; and review common and household items used for inhalant properties.  

Part one of this course, “The Opioid Crisis in America: Overview”, discusses the differences between opiates and opioids; identifies uses of opioids, examines the overall national opioid epidemic, describes the societal impacts of opioid abuse.

Part two, “The Opioid Crisis in America: Opioid Drugs and Responses” reviews the most commonly abused prescription opioid drugs; differentiates between physical manifestations of synthetic opioids in comparison to other opioids; examines common methods of opioid injection and common paraphernalia used for ingestion; and reviews medications to reduce opioid dependence.

[1] Public Affairs. “HHS.gov/Opioids: The Prescription Drug & Heroin Overdose Epidemic.“ HHS.gov. Accessed May 03, 2018. https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/


[1] “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2016. 1-9. https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-generals-report.pdf.

Participants should expect to spend approximately 2 hours reviewing the content and resources in this course.

This tuition-free online training was developed by the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2017-CK-WX-K007 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Primary Audience

This course is ideal for all law enforcement, criminal justice professionals and service providers as well as community-policing stakeholders, including corrections professionals, court system personnel, social workers, and behavioral health/treatment providers.

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