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Skip Navigation LinksOpioid-Resource-Center---Questions

Opioids are narcotic pain relievers, prescribed for short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, as after a surgery.  Examples include hydrocodone (such as Vicodin), oxycodone (such as Percocet), and codeine (used in some medications to treat cough).

Opioids are not harmless. According to Beacon Health Options, opioid overdose is now the No. 1 cause of accidental death in America.  Every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for using or misusing prescription opioids. Anyone who takes opioids, even for a short amount of time, is at risk for addiction and death.

Explore the chart below for information on everything from questions to ask your provider if you are prescribed an opioid, all the way to how to get help for addiction.


Questions to ask your providerAlternative pain managementSafe storage and disposal
MisuseAddictionGet Help

Questions to ask your provider

Be an active participant in your health care decisions with your provider. Opioid use increases your risk for misuse, addiction, and death. If your provider recommends a prescription opioid for you, ask these important questions:

  • Why do I need this medication—is it right for me?
  • Is this the lowest possible dosage?
  • Are there non-opioid options for pain relief, such as physical therapy?
  • Will you write the prescription only for the length of time you think I will need it?
  • What if I have a history of addiction?
  • Should I also ask for Naloxone* at my pharmacy?

*Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and could save lives. Overdoses are often unintentional and accidental, and may occur if opioids are used with alcohol or taken with other medications.  Naloxone is available in North Carolina without a prescription from pharmacies for individuals using opioids who are at risk of an overdose, as well as their loved ones.
Some harmful side effects of opioids may include:
 
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Itching
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Addiction