Prescription Opioids: It Only Takes a Little to Lose a Lot


Anyone Who Takes Prescription Opioids Can Become Addicted to Them

Prescription opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths are oxycodone (such as OxyContin®), hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®) and morphine.

If You Are Prescribed Opioids

  • Talk with your doctor to fully understand benefits and risks of prescription opioids before taking them.
  • Make sure you’re getting care that is safe, effective, and right for you. Talk with your doctor about setting goals for management of your pain.
  • Ask your doctor about non-opioid options for treating pain, including medications other than opioids as well as nonpharmacologic options, like exercise.
  • Always let your doctor know about any side effects or concerns you may have.

Practice Responsible Use

  • Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
  • Always let your doctor know about any side effects or concerns you may have about using opioids.
  • Avoid taking opioids with alcohol and other substances or medications. It is very dangerous to combine opioids with other drugs, especially those that cause drowsiness.
  • Do not share or sell your prescription opioids.
  • Safely store your medications.

For more information about prescription opioids, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Rx Awareness page.




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