Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Opioid Abuse: The Problem With Prescription Painkillers

Opioids are a type of drug that usually includes strong prescription pain relievers that are commonly used in the medical field. Because they have strong effects on the body, people have become more addicted to them over time.

Addiction to opioids is a real problem that should be taken care of before the first signs start to reveal themselves.


What Are The Side Effects of Using Opioids?


The most common side effects of opioid use include constipation, nausea, mental fog, and drowsiness. They can also cause breathing to slow to the point of death if too many are taken in one dosage.

The symptoms of opioid addiction include:


  • fingernails or lips have turned a blue/purple color
  • the body goes limp
  • gurgling noises are heard or the person starts vomiting
  • the person cannot be woken up
  • the face is pale or skin is clammy to the touch
  • slow heartbeat and breathing


You can learn more about opioids and what can be done to stop addiction at braceyourhealth.


How Can Opioids Be Used Safely


If you receive a prescription for any opioid from your doctor, you should already have a plan in motion for easy disposal of these medications when you are done taking them. After only five days of use, you can develop a long-term addiction to these medicines.

Divulge your medical history to your doctor, especially if there is a history of substance abuse in your family. Your chances of opioid addiction increase if you are currently using tobacco heavily, have a history of depression or anxiety, and if you have a personal history of substance abuse. You may also suffer from other conditions that increase the risk of any opioid medication, including:



What Your Doctor Should Do


In the event that you receive a prescription for opioids from your doctor, there are certain steps that they should take to minimize your risk of addiction. These include:


  • prescribing you the lowest dose possible for the shortest period of time needed.
  • setting up realistic treatment goals for the future, especially if you’re suffering from chronic pain.
  • make you sign an opioid therapy agreement before you start treatment.
  • schedule regular checkups while you’re taking opioids to ensure you’re on the right course.
  • help minimize withdrawal once the course of opioids ends.


These are for the benefit of the patient to ensure that there are no signs of addiction.


How To Dispose of Unused Medication


Once you’re done with treatment, it can be confusing to know what to do with all of those pills you have leftover. The last thing you should do is keep them in your cupboard for “later use;” which increases your chances of developing an addiction. There are authorized take-back programs in place to help you dispose of these medications, including your local law enforcement agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the medication disposal options through your local trash and recycling services.


Get the help you need today if you believe that you have an opioid addiction. Pride can get in the way of some people getting the help they need, but there’s no shame in asking for help.



Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash