OPIOID PREVENTION RESOURCES
#BE SMART. DON’T START!Research shows that young people who are prescribed opioids prior to graduating high school are 33 percent more likely to misuse prescription opioids after graduating. Additionally, taking opioids after wisdom teeth removal also increases the odds of long-term use. The misuse of opioid pain medication—even just one time—can lead to serious illness or death.
#WHAT ARE OPIOIDSOpioids are a group of drugs that block pain signals and causes intense euphoria. They include synthetic opioids like fentanyl, illegal drugs like heroin, and legal prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, and morphine. Prescription opioid pain medications can be helpful when used properly under the guidance of a healthcare provider, but misuse can often lead to dependence and addiction. People can start with a dependency on prescription opioids and then progress to using other drugs like heroin when they can’t get more prescribed pills.
#WHAT IS PRESCRIPTION OPIOID MISUSEPrescription opioid misuse includes taking someone else’s medicine, using medicine in a way other than prescribed, taking medicine to get high, or mixing medicine with alcohol or other substances. After alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly used/misused substances among those 12 and older.
#WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE MISUSE PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDSYoung people misuse prescription opioids for many reason, including curiosity, peer pressure, and wanting to fit in, and they can be easier to get than other drugs. More than 50 percent of people ages 12 or older who took prescription pain medication for non-medical use obtained them from a friend or relative.
#WHAT IS OPIOID DEPENDENCE?When someone is in a situation where they cannot stop taking an opioid drug, they are dependent on that drug. Dependence often occurs with long periods of opioid use or when too many opioids are taken. Over time, a tolerance is developed with opioids and the craving for more takes over to get the same relief or high.
#KNOW THE RISKS AND HARMS OF PRESCRIPTION OPIOID MISUSEUsing prescription opioids long term or incorrectly can cause the brain to become reliant on them and quickly lead to addiction. Dependence on prescription opioids can happen after just 5 days. Misusing prescription opioids or taking them in combination with alcohol or other drugs can also have other major, life-threatening consequences.
Risks include, but are not limited to: Allergic reactions, Breathing problems, Coma, Permanent brain damage, and Death.
#REMOVE THE RISKSAll medications that are expired, unused, or no longer needed should be removed from your home and disposed of immediately. This will reduce the chances of your teen taking medication accidentally, misuse it, or shares it intentionally.
#UNDERSTANDING ADDICTIONIn Alabama, the opioid crisis is a public health and economic crisis that is eroding the quality of life for residents.
Addiction Can Affect Anyone
- Addiction does not discriminate. It affects all backgrounds and doesn’t care how much money you make, how old you are, or the color of your skin.
- Adolescence and young adulthood are a prime time for drug abuse to begin – including tobacco, alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs.
- The earlier someone starts using substances, the greater their chances are of developing a drug addiction or Substance Use Disorder (SUD). This is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. Once you’re addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.
- Drug addiction can start with experimenting with a recreational drug in social situations and the drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins when they take prescribed medicines or receive them from others who have prescriptions.
- The risk of addiction and how fast someone becomes addicted varies by drug. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, have a higher risk and cause addition quicker than others.
- Most teens with drug problems don’t want or think they need help, and parents are frequently blind to the indications their teenage kids may be using drugs – or they dismiss drug use as just a normal part of growing up.