Prescription Drugs and Opioids

By Ana Sali and Hannah Tiner

What are opioids?

Opioids are prescription medications used to help relieve pain.

How are they abused?

They are abused by taking other people’s pain medication, by taking another way than you’re supposed to; for instance taking it with alcohol or other drugs and inhaling it. Another way to abuse it is by taking the prescription opioids to get high.

How do they affect the brain?

The opioids attach themselves to opioid receptors on certain parts of the body like spinal cord, gut, and other organs, and when they do that, they block messages that come from the brain.

What are other effects of prescription medications and opioids?

Other effects are sleepiness, confusion, nausea, constipation, and breathing problems. Overdosing one time can lead to death.

Can you get addicted?

Yes. When you take medication that is not prescribed to you, or too much of your own medication when you aren't supposed to, you have a high risk of getting addicted.

Can you die from use?

Yes, you can even die from overdosing once. A large percentage of teens in the U.S. die from taking opioids.

How many teens use this drug?

Vicodin: 8th grade- 0.90 10th grade- 2.50 12th grade- 4.40

Oxycontin: 8th grade- 0.80 10th grade- 2.60 12th grade- 3.70

Teens are starting to take drugs more and more as they get older. A large percentage of teens even in our grade take drugs.

What should you do if someone needs help?

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP

What classification does your drug belong in?

The classification opioids belongs in is narcotics. Some other examples of narcotics are RX painkillers, heroin, and LSD. Opioids can be just as dangerous as heroin.
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