Opioid addiction in the U.S has reached epidemic proportions, with prescription opiate addiction being one of the biggest drug problems today affecting almost every community and family in some way. Prescription opioids are a class of drugs that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief. When suffering from a minor ache or pain over the counter pain relievers usually are enough to provide you with relief. However, if your pain is severe enough you may be prescribed opioids. Prescription opioids are often times prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health-related conditions such as cancer. Regular use – even as prescribed by a doctor – can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to overdose incidents and deaths.

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Commonly Abused Drugs

• Hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin)
• Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet)
• Oxycodone (OxyContin)
• Fentanyl (Duragesic)
• Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
• Morphine (Avinza, Kadian)
• Codeine

Physical Signs of Abuse
  • Marked sedation/drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slowed breathing
  • Intermittent nodding off or loss of consciousness
Other Signs of Abuse
  •  Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Inability to control use even though it’s having a negative effect on personal relationships or finances
  • Continuous ‘loss’ of prescriptions
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • Social withdrawal/isolation
Dangers of Abuse & Dependence
  • Weakened immune system functioning
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dangerously slowed breathing rate and hypoxia
  • Coma
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Death

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