Prescription medication opioids
by Sakshi Nemlekar and Hannah Naseer
How are abused?
Taking someone else’s prescription opioid medication.
Even if the person taking the opioid is doing so for the medication’s intended purpose, such as to ease pain, it is considered abuse if the medication is not prescribed to you by a health care clinician.
Taking a prescription opioid medication in a way other than prescribed.
Taking more of the medication than prescribed, combining it with alcohol or other drugs, or crushing the pills into powder to snort or inject the drug is abuse. Taking opioids in this way increases risk for both addiction and overdose.
Taking the opioid prescription to get high.
If the primary (most important) reason to take the medication is to get high, it is abuse.
What are the other effects of prescription pills opioids?
Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach)
Breathing problems. Taking just 1 large dose could cause serious breathing problems that lead to death.
How can you die from abuse?
Yes. In fact, taking just 1 large dose could cause serious breathing problems that lead to death. In 2014, opioid pain relievers accounted for close to 19,000 deaths in the United States. If you compare it to 2001, when 5,500 people died from an overdose of opioid pain relievers, you can see how dramatically deaths have increased in the last decade. Among young people, males are much more likely to overdose from opioid abuse than are females.1 In 2014, among young people ages 15 – 24, three out of every four deaths from an overdose of pain relievers is a male.
What should you do if someone need help?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP