What is an Opioid?
Opioids are a class of drugs commonly used to reduce pain. The illegal drug heroin is an opioid, as are many of the prescription pain relievers prescribed by doctors, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others. Opioids can negatively affect the reward center in the brain, leading users to need more and more over time. As a result, these drugs can be highly addictive. (Information from cdc.gov)
It is important to note that some opioids can safely be used under medical supervision. However, when opioids are used illegally or abused, the consequences can be deadly.
Pain Management Options
Opioids aren’t the only painkillers on the market, and they’re not always the best way to fight pain. In some cases, even over-the-counter drugs might be more effective, and have fewer side effects.
When a doctor prescribes you medication, they consider your personal health condition, allergies and care needs. Never share your prescriptions. The CDC has some great tips on what to ask your doctor if you’re ever prescribed an opioid and for more information on not sharing prescriptions and what to do if you’re ever offered a prescription that isn’t yours, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has some good resources.
Even when opioids are prescribed by a doctor, it is still illegal and dangerous to share the medication with another person.