Opioid Myths and Facts

opioids myths and facts

Do you know what’s myth and what’s fact about opioids?

Myth: Heroin and prescription pain killers are not the same.Fact: Heroin and prescription pain killers are both opioids. They have the same chemical composition, and your brain reacts to them the same way.
Myth: Because it’s a prescription medication, I won’t become addicted.Fact: Prescription opioids are just as addictive as heroin. You can become dependent in as few as five days. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
Myth: Because my doctor prescribed it, I need to take it.Fact: Prescription opioids are different from antibiotics. For antibiotics, you should always take the whole bottle as prescribed in order to treat your illness. However, opioids do not treat a sickness; they offer short-term relief from severe pain. But, if you are in pain, opioids are not your only option, and you can ask your doctor for non-opioid alternatives.
Myth: You can tell by looking at someone if they are addicted to opioids.Fact: Anyone can become addicted to opioids. Your family members, neighbors and co-workers could be living with opioid use disorder, and there aren’t always signs you can see.
Myth: People addicted to opioids can stop at any time, but choose not to.Fact: Addiction, or opioid use disorder (OUD), is a chronic health condition, like diabetes or asthma. It requires lifelong management, which can include prescription medication, counseling and behavioral therapy.
Myth: The medications used to treat addiction are just replacing one drug with another.Fact: Many people with OUD in abstinence only programs will relapse. Medications like Suboxone in combination with counseling, also called Medication Assisted Treatment, is the most effective treatment. These medications bind to the same receptors as opioids, but don’t offer the high and prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

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