Avoiding Opioid Abuse

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According to Med Page Today’s Kevin, MD, opioids cause more overdose deaths in America than cocaine and heroin combined.

Opioid abuse and addiction is a growing problem, but there are certain things you can do to avoid addiction if you are offered an opioid prescription.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are generally used to relieve pain, but they also have euphoric and sedation side effects that make opioids a popular drug for abuse. Common opioids include codeine, morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet). Heroin, derived from morphine, also falls under the class of opioids but is a street drug and not a prescription medication.

Avoiding Addiction

Ask for Non-opioid Pain Killer

Doctors often prescribe opioids after surgeries or other painful procedures as a pain reliever. If you are concerned about an opioid addiction, or are a recovering addict, you can ask your doctor to prescribe a non-opioid pain killer.

You can also discuss options such as an initial prescription of short-acting opioids followed by non-opioid analgesics to avoid withdrawal symptoms that could lead to abuse.

Follow Instructions

This may seem obvious, but following the dosage and frequency instructions set by your doctor will go a long way toward reducing your risk of addiction to opioid pain medications. Do not self-medicate as your doctor will have already assessed your history, risk factors and medical condition to set the appropriate amount of medication.

Throw Out Old Pills

When the pain subsides, throw out your extra pills and do not keep old prescriptions around the house. If the temptation is not there, you cannot succumb to it.

Source: Med Page Today

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