… and other pain medications. 

We’ve all had pain at some point, and you’ve probably been asked to use a pain scale at your appointments to help your care team assess your pain. While these numbers help you communicate your level of suffering to others, no one else can FEEL what you’re going through. It’s more than a number. It’s unpleasant, agonizing, and it can make you feel bad physically AND emotionally; physically due to the nerves being stimulated and emotionally because pain can cause frustration, mental exhaustion, irritability, and depression. (Ick!) Depending on your circumstances, your provider may prescribe medication for pain. Oftentimes this is in the form of an opioid, especially when pain is constant, or your pain interferes with your activities of daily living (such as from recovery of a surgery). While opioids can come in handy, they can also prove to be extremely addictive.

With the growing epidemic of addiction, here’s what you need to know if you or someone you know has been prescribed an opioid and you want to stay safe from misuse…

01 When used as prescribed by a doctor, opioids can be helpful in treating many types of pain.

02 Taking higher doses than what is prescribed is misuse. If a higher dose is needed, a doctor should be consulted.

03 Signs of misuse will vary, but a person misusing prescription pain relievers may:

04 Not feel pain at normal levels

05 Seem drowsy and confused

06 Complain of nausea

07 Seek remedies for constipation

08 Have dilated pupils


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for individuals and families facing substance use disorders.

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