Opioid misuse and addiction can impact anyone - from young injured athletes to older adults with chronic pain.
Opioids are prescribed to treat pain when our body's natural ability to handle pain is not enough. Opioids can help relieve pain, but with prolonged use, the pain-relieving effects lessen, pain can become worse, and our bodies no longer respond the same. This causes individuals to need more opioids, placing individuals at risk for using illegal opioids or using prescribed opioids in a manner not prescribed by a physician. The body can gradually or rapidly develop a dependence or the need for opioids to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction occurs when dependence begins to interfere with daily life, including hiding or lying about opioid use, struggling with personal relationships, or not completing daily activities because of opioids. Individuals who begin taking more opioids than prescribed or turn to illegal opioids like heroin are then at risk for overdose and death.
Opioid Addiction is a Treatable Disease
The good news is, that addiction to opioids - or Opioid Use Disorder - is a treatable chronic disease. The best treatment for Opioid Use Disorder is FDA-approved medication (such as buprenorphine or methadone) in combination with behavioral therapy.
Every aspect of the opioid crisis requires great care. From understanding the risks and benefits of pain medications to knowing the signs of addiction to recognizing an overdose and knowing how to help - there are ways all of us can care for each other and ourselves.
Learn more about using medications to treat Opioid Use Disorder.
Fill your understanding of opioids with care, and together we'll protect North Dakota.
Opioids are not good or bad in and of themselves. They’re an effective pain relief tool that comes with benefits, but also significant risks.
Anyone taking prescription or illegal opioids is at risk for overdose. Learn the signs and how to effectively respond to an overdose.