WHAT ARE OPIOIDS?

Prescription opioids — also known as narcotics and painkillers — are controlled substances used to treat moderate to severe pain. They work by targeting opioid receptors in the brain to block the feeling of pain. They are often prescribed following dental procedures, surgeries and injuries, but are also used to treat chronic pain. Common names of some prescription opioids include:

  • OxyContin (Oxycodone)
  • Vicodin, Norco and Lortab (Hydrocodone with Acetaminophen)
  • Percocet (Oxycodone with Acetaminophen)
  • Tramadol
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Demerol (meperidine)

OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN RELIEVERS

Over-the-counter pain relievers are NOT opioids. These pain relievers are generally safe for most patients. Consult your healthcare provider for more information.

Some common OTC pain relievers include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin, Vanquish)
  • Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin, Excedrin, Vanquish)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren Gel)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

HOW OPIOIDS WORK

Source: National Geographic

PREVENT MISUSE WITH SAFE MEDICATION PRACTICES

AT-RISK POPULATIONS

Older adult male

BABY BOOMERS

Older adults receive more prescription opioids than any other age group in Kansas.

Woman

WOMEN

Women have a higher risk than men for experiencing an opioid-involved overdose death.

HOW OPIOIDS ARE MISUSED

INTENTIONALLY TAKING TOO MUCH

Intentionally taking more than prescribed for the euphoric and non-medical effects.

UNINTENTIONALLY TAKING TOO MUCH

Unintentionally taking more than prescribed due to misunderstanding its intended use.

SEEKING EARLY REFILLS

Seeking early refills or additional prescriptions from healthcare providers and pharmacies you don’t typically use.

EXAGGERATING SYMPTOMS

Exaggerating or falsifying symptoms in order to gain access to the medication.

GETTING THE DRUGS ILLEGALLY

Obtaining the medication from someone other than your healthcare provider, for example, a family member, friend or off the street.

USING DRUGS IN A DIFFERENT FORM

Taking the medication in a way other than prescribed, for example, crushing a pill to smoke, snort or inject it for immediate effects.

WARNING SIGNS OF OPIOID MISUSE

Prescription opioid misuse can turn into addiction. Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) occurs when you experience a problematic pattern of opioid use. Signs include:

  • Taking prescription opioids in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended
  • Uncontrollable cravings or desires to use opioids
  • Drowsiness and changes in sleep habits
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Changes in hygiene and exercise habits
  • Increased isolation from family and friends
  • Problems fulfilling school, work or home obligations
  • New financial difficulties