Opioids are a type of medication used to reduce pain.
Prescription opioids, such as Vicodin®, Ultram®, Oxycontin®
or Percocet®, are one way to safely manage severe pain when
taken as directed by a doctor.
However, misusing prescription opioids can put you at risk of physical dependence, addiction, overdose and death. Misusing your medications means taking more than you were prescribed, taking someone else's medication or any non-medical use.
Addiction is a chronic disease in which someone continues to use opioids even in the face of severe negative consequences. The clinical term for this is opioid use disorder.
Opioids affect the part of the brain that controls breathing. If someone takes too much, it can slow or stop their breathing and cause death.
Signs of an overdose:
How to save a life:
Visit the National Harm Reduction Coalition website for more detailed information about recognizing and responding to an overdose.