It doesn't matter if you get them at a party or the doctor's office.
Opioids kill 50,000 Americans a year.
Opioids are drugs that include illegal heroin, synthetics like fentanyl, and prescription pain pills like OxyContin, codeine, morphine, Percocet, Vicodin, and many others. These powerful drugs help take away pain They also can make you feel happy at the beginning, which is why they are misused so much.
BRAIN. Opioids keep pain messages from getting to your brain. The pain is still there but you don’t feel it. They can permanently change how your brain works.
BODY. Opioids slow down your breathing and heartbeat. Even a single dose can cause severe breathing problems. This can be fatal. Taking opioids with alcohol or sedatives increases this risk.
ADDICTION. Even though heroin is highly addictive, more people struggle with addiction to prescription pain pills. Many young people who end up injecting heroin got started with prescription opioids.
DEATH. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. There were 68,690 drug overdose deaths between March 2017 and March 2018. Nearly 50,000 of these deaths involved opioids.
TREATMENT. You can kick opioids. There are many types of treatments including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.
Q. My doctor prescribed me opioids. Doesn’t that mean they are safe?
A. Small amounts over a couple of days are low risk. But opioids are opioids. Wherever you get them they have about the same risks.
Q. If I use opioids, will I become addicted?
A. It depends on how much you use and for how long. But addiction can happen quickly – before you even realize it.
Q. Is it safe to take my friend’s prescription opioids if I get hurt playing a sport?
A. Opioids are powerful drugs. Taking someone else’s can be dangerous. You really should see a doctor and get the right treatment.
KNOW THE LAW. Heroin and other street opioids are illegal. Using someone’s prescription is just as illegal.
KNOW THE RISKS. Using opioids can lead to addiction, overdose death, car accidents, and suicide.
BE A FRIEND. SAVE A LIFE. Encourage your friend to stop using or get help.
Referrals for treatment: 1-408-272-6518 (English and Español)
24/7 free confidential information: National Helpline at: 1–800–662–HELP (1–800–662–4357).
Many people have prescribed opioids because they need them medically. But opioids are still dangerous and addictive.
Using drugs can lead to poor grades, worse performance in sports, and ruined relationships with friends and family. Opioids alter judgment which can cause you to do risky things like having unprotected sex or getting into a car crash because you drove while under the influence.
Get the latest information on how drugs affect the brain and body at www.teens.drugabuse.gov
- This is what happens to your brain on opioids
Video: animation on how opioids affect the brain and retrain it.
- Opioid history
Video: addiction brain science
- Video: America’s Epidemic of opioid abuse
- Opioids: Facts Parents Need to Know: Talking to Your Kids: Communicating the Risks
- Opioid use brief description
- Drug Facts: What are Prescription Opioids?
- What is fentanyl?
- What is heroin?
- Drug addiction
This service is supported by a federal grant under the State Opioid Response program, with funding provided by the California Department of Health Care Services.
Prevention & Education