Substance misuse truth. Opioids and pain pills can be dangerous.

Opioid misuse takes lives

Opioids are a group of powerful medications that relieve pain; however, opioids can be dangerous if they are not used correctly.

Pain all the time? Consider the best ways to manage it.

If you live in pain and take pain medicine, you could become dependent on opioids, pain pills, or other methods of pain management without even realizing it.

What are opioids?

Opioids, often prescribed for pain, include:

- Fentanyl, a powerful anesthetic, used to manage pain.

- Prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others.

They also include illegal drugs, like:

- Heroin, an opioid drug made from morphine.

Before taking any opioid, ask your doctor why and how long you need to take it, and what other pain management options you have, so you can make smart decisions about treating your pain.

The truth about chronic pain

- Some 25.3 million American adults suffer from daily pain.

- It’s pain that lasts longer than three to six months.

- In many cases, pain continues even after the injury or condition that first caused it has healed.

- The cause of chronic pain is not always clear; in some cases, it may never be explained.

- While the main symptom is pain, pain can affect the body in different ways. Different people experience chronic pain in different ways.

What are options to manage chronic pain?

Treatments for chronic pain include both medicine and activities. No single treatment works for everyone. Be open to trying new treatments and combinations of treatments. Treatment options include:

- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen - Cognitive behavioral therapy — a goal-directed approach where you learn how to change thought perceptions and behavioral and emotional triggers of pain and stress

- Movement therapy, including physical therapy

- Medications that aren’t addictive

- Interventional therapies (injections)

- Exercise (like yoga or Pilates) and weight loss

- Acupuncture

- Massage

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