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Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug, heroin, as well as synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.


Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your pain that do not involve prescription opioids. Some of these options may actually work better and have fewer risks and side effects. Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, options may include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®)

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

  • Exercise therapy, including physical therapy

  • Medications for depression or for seizures

  • Interventional therapies (injections)

  • Exercise and weight loss

  • Other therapies such as acupuncture and massage


Talk to your kids. Tell your children about how deadly opioid drugs can be. Children who learn about the risks of drugs at home are less likely to use drugs than those who don’t. Safe storage. Keep opioids and other prescription medicine in a secure place. Count and monitor the number of pills you have and lock them up. Ask your friends, family members, and babysitters to do the same. Dispose leftover prescription medication. Return leftover opioid prescriptions to a hospital, doctor’s office, or pharmacy. Ask for help. If you think you or your child may be misusing opioid drugs or developing addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help. Know what to do in an overdose emergency. Ask your medical provider about Naloxone, which can prevent opioid overdose deaths. Always call 911 if you believe someone has overdosed.

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