Opioid Facts For Teens


What are opioids?

Opioids are pain medications prescribed by doctors to help patients with severe pain after surgery or serious injuries, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others. Opioids also include the illegal drug such as heroin and synthetic opioids called fentanyl.

Are opioids causing addiction?

Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to addiction and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to overdose incidents and deaths.

What does it mean opioid misuse?

  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking an opioid medication in a way other than prescribed—for instance, taking more than your prescribed dose or taking it more often, or crushing pills into powder to snort or inject the drug
  • Taking the opioid prescription to get high
  • Mixing them with alcohol or certain other drugs

How do opioids affect the brain?

Opioids can cause a person to feel relaxed and euphoric by affecting areas of the brain that deal with feelings of pleasure. These feelings can be intensified when opioids are abused using routes of administration other than what is recommended. If this process is repeated it can lead to addiction.

What negative effects can be associated with opioids?

Opioids can cause drowsiness, cause constipation, severe breathing problems and death.

What can you do?

If someone you know is abusing prescription drugs encourage him or her to talk to a parent, school guidance counselor, physician or other trusted adult.

Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357). For more information vist https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

Did you know?

You can dispose prescription medications at the police station drop off box. You can just walk in, no questions will be asked. Just drop it!




Developed and funded in whole and or part, by the Illinois Department of Human Services and/or under grant number SP20150 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and/or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The views, opinions, and content of this publication are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of IDHS, ONDCP, SAMHSA, or HHS, and should not be construed as such.
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