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What’s an opioid?
An opioid, also known as a narcotic, is a strong pain medicine. There are serious risks with taking opioids. These risks include addiction and accidental death by overdose. Common opioids include:
What are the risks?
It's important to know the risks before taking opioids. Check out the links below for more information.
- What to Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Opioids: Get tips from the FDA.
- What to Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Opioids: A Checklist [PDF]: Print this checklist from the FDA and bring it to your next appointment.
- Prescription Opioids: What You Need to Know [PDF]: Learn more from the CDC.
What other options do I have?
There are other ways to manage your pain. You can try:
- Medication alternatives - ask your doctor about non-opioid pain relievers
- An activity or exercise plan
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Behavioral counseling
- Treatments Other Than Medicines - watch this video to learn about alternatives to medication for chronic pain
- Living with Chronic Pain - these four videos provide tips on how to manage and live with chronic pain
How can I take opioids safely?
If you need to take opioids, follow these steps to lower your risk.
- Never take another person’s prescription for opioids. And don't share your own prescription with others.
- Never take more opioids than prescribed. And don't take them more often than prescribed.
- If your pain isn’t improving with your prescribed dose, talk to your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about a naloxone rescue kit. This can help a loved one to save your life if you accidentally overdose.
- Safely store and dispose of any unused opioid medications. This helps to protect your family and loved ones.
Need help? Contact us for behavioral health services at the number on your ID card.