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:
Some common OTC pain relievers include:
Intentionally taking more than prescribed for the euphoric and non-medical effects.
Unintentionally taking more than prescribed due to misunderstanding its intended use.
Seeking early refills or additional prescriptions from healthcare providers and pharmacies you don’t typically use.
Exaggerating or falsifying symptoms in order to gain access to the medication.
Obtaining the medication from someone other than your healthcare provider, for example, a family member, friend or off the street.
Taking the medication in a way other than prescribed, for example, crushing a pill to smoke, snort or inject it for immediate effects.
Prescription opioid misuse can turn into addiction. Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) occurs when you experience a problematic pattern of opioid use. Signs include: