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Opioid abuse and overdose is a nationwide epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die each day as a result of opioid overdose. In addition, more than six of 10 drug overdose deaths involve an opioid of some sort. Good news – opioid abuse and overdose can be avoided through information and education. Test your understanding of how opioids affect users physically and mentally by taking this quiz.
In 2015, how many people died from prescription opioid overdoses? Prescription opioids are pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin®) and morphine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 15,000 people a year die from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
Which of the following can increase the risk of an opioid overdose and death?
Taking opioids for a longer duration, at higher doses or more often than prescribed can all increase the risk of an opioid overdose and death.
What constitutes prescription medication misuse?
Prescription medications should only be taken by you and as directed by your doctor. Note: All opioids require a prescription by a licensed doctor, and prescription medications should never be shared with others.
Your doctor may increase your opioid prescription over time. That means that your tolerance for the medication is increasing, not necessarily that you’re becoming addicted.
Increased use of an opioid pain medication, when prescribed by your doctor, does not necessarily mean that you have an addiction, which means compulsive use of that drug.
When opioids are prescribed by a doctor they are always safe to take together with non-opioids.
Non-opioids such as muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines (also referred to as “benzos” such as diazepam or alprazolam), or sedatives (sleep aids such as Ambien® (zolpidem)) can cause central nervous system depression leading to extreme sleepiness, decreased breathing, coma and even death. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you take, both prescription and over-the-counter, to avoid any potential drug interactions or adverse side effects.
If your doctor prescribes an opioid for your pain, you should always ask if there are non-opioid options available that are appropriate to treat your condition.
Incorrect. You are not required to take an opioid because it is prescribed for you. Non-opioid options are available for pain management and an alternative may be right for you.
You’re right! You are not required to take an opioid because it is prescribed for you. Non-opioid options are available for pain management and an alternative may be right for you.
Which of these are a sign of opioid use disorder (sometimes referred to as opioid abuse or addiction)?
Signs of opioid use disorder include depression, irritability, a constant state of feeling high or poor decision-making skills.
Prescription medications containing opioids should be stored in a locked cabinet or box, not easy-to-access areas like medicine cabinets.
Prescription medications containing opioids should be stored in a locked cabinet or box to lower the chances of toddlers, children or teens getting access to them. Some medications are so potent that even one dose could be fatal if accidentally ingested.
It can be common to have leftover or unused opioid pills after being prescribed opioids for pain.
Everyone experiences pain differently, and your doctor cannot predict how long you will have pain. It is likely that your pain will decrease, and you’ll have leftover pills that are not needed.
If you have unused opioid medications at the end of your treatment, you should:
A drug take-back facility is the perfect opportunity to safely dispose of any prescription drugs you’re not taking. To find a local drug disposal facility near you, visit the DEA website. There’s also National Drug Take Back Day events, often held in April and October of every year. Visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/ for more information.
Opioid abuse and overdose is an epidemic affecting millions of Americans. Here’s what to know about why these pain relievers are so dangerous.