What is Percocet?

(CNN)Percocet is a painkiller that's part of a family of drugs known as opioids. Though some are derived naturally, such as heroin or morphine, others are synthesized in the lab, including hydrocodone and oxycodone. Percocet is the brand name of a drug that mixes oxycodone and acetaminophen.

These narcotics all share the same cellular structure. Opioids such as Percocet latch on to opioid receptors in the brain. They can create a sense of euphoria and numb pain, but they can also slow breathing.
All these drugs are highly addictive. The Obama administration proposed several initiatives to fight the ongoing addiction epidemic, including increasing access to medication-assisted treatments, such as methadone; establishing mental health parity; and increasing access to naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug.
    Naloxone has been a highlighted tool in fighting the opioid epidemic. The drug can reverse an overdose, essentially, giving someone a chance to be treated for addiction. Emergency medical technicians have long had naloxone on hand, and it has been passed out among needle-exchange programs and harm-reduction groups to help heroin addicts.
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    Recently, there has been a movement to get it into the hands of more people, including first responders, such as police officers, as well as family and friends of addicts.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since naloxone has been made available in 1996, there have been more than 26,000 overdose reversals across the country.