Opioid Awareness

Addressing the opioid epidemic: Comprehensive reference guide for opioid addiction and recovery resources.



What are opioids?

Prescription opioids can be used to help relieve moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following a surgery or injury, or for certain health conditions.

These medications can be an important part of treatment but also come with serious risks. It is important to work with your health care provider to make sure you are getting the safest, most effective care.

Common opioids include:
• Codeine
• Fentanyl
• Hydrocodone
• Hydromorphone
• Meperidine
• Methadone
• Morphine
• Oxycodone

What are the risks and side effects?

Prescription opioids carry serious risks of addiction and overdose, especially with prolonged use. An opioid overdose, often marked by slowed breathing, can cause sudden death. The use of prescription opioids can have a number of side effects as well, even when taken as directed.

• Tolerance
• Physical dependence
• Increased sensitivity to pain
• Constipation
• Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
• Sleepiness and dizziness
• Confusion
• Depression
• Low levels of testosterone that can result in lower sex drive, energy, and strength
• Itching and sweating

What factors put me at risk?

• History of drug misuse, substance use disorder, or overdose
• Mental health conditions
• Sleep apnea
• Age (65 years or older)
• Women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant

In Cuyahoga County alone, there were over 500 opioid overdoses in 2016.