Opioids are a type of pain medication that has been used for thousands of years to treat different types of pain. They are made from the poppy that is used to make opium and heroin, which make them highly addictive. Opioids can be used to treat pain involving skin, muscles and bones following an injury or surgery.
Some of the most common side effects of opioids include:
- Decrease in breathing
Death is the most serious side effect of opioids and can happen when the medication is used with alcohol or other drugs. Such misuse and addiction of opioids is a growing problem in the U.S. Opioids kill more than 100 people per day.
To reduce your risk of addiction, do not use opioids unless prescribed by a doctor. If you do receive a prescription, follow your doctor’s instructions closely. Your doctor may suggest switching to an over-the-counter medication once your intense pain is gone. If you have extra opioids after your pain is gone, dispose of the pills immediately. Storing leftover pain medication in your home puts family and friends at risk. You can dispose of your unused opioids by using a community dropbox or attending a disposal day. Do not flush your pills down the toilet, as it releases the chemicals into the waterways.
Learn more about pain medication and how to reduce pain without opioids at www.HandCare.org.