Opioids are a class of drugs typically used for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. They include not only pain relievers available by prescription from a doctor, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (Vicodin®), but also illegal drugs like heroin.
While reducing the perception of pain, opioids may also produce drowsiness, constipation, mental confusion, and other side effects. Because these drugs can produce euphoric highs, they can be addictive, especially if they are misused.
It is Dangerous to Abuse Opioids
If patients are prescribed opioids for pain and closely monitored by a doctor, the treatment can be effective in managing pain. However, misuse of these drugs can lead to brain changes that interfere with a person’s self-control and cause them to become addicted. As people use larger and larger doses of opioids, their tolerance may increase, and they may turn to other methods of obtaining the drugs they need. This can lead to severe medical complications, including overdose.
The misuse of opioids has become a devastating epidemic in our country. In fact, an average of over 100 Americans die from opioid overdose everyday, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Call Missouri Poison Center if You or Someone You Love Has Misused an Opioid Drug
If you or someone close to you has taken too much of an opioid drug, or if you have questions about safe usage, call Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Our specially trained nurses, pharmacists, and medical toxicologist can give you potentially life-saving information.