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Drugs & Health Blog

Does Your Family Know the Risks of Misusing Opioids?

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The NIDA Blog Team

We recently shared some important facts for teens about opioids. Opioids can be helpful in treating severe pain when they're taken as directed by a doctor. Like all drugs, though, they can also bring risks.

Does your family know the facts about opioids? You can help your parents and other family members learn about the risks associated with opioid use by sharing NIDA’s guide, Opioids: Facts Parents Need To Know.

Here are a few of the facts they’ll find:

  • Misusing opioids can have serious health consequences.
    • When opioids are misused, they can have harmful effects, like slowing down a person’s breathing. Slowed breathing can lead to coma, brain damage, and death.
    • Some studies have shown that misusing opioids repeatedly can also affect people’s behavior and their decisions.
  • Opioids are addictive. 
    • Over time, they can change the brain, which can result in a strong urge to take the drug again and again. If a person then stops taking the drug, they may experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Parents can start the conversation about opioids.
    • Everyone in the family should know about the harmful effects that can result from opioid misuse, including effects on the developing brain.

Another important tip for your family:

  • When you finish taking an opioid as prescribed, safely dispose of the unused product.
    • Teens who misuse prescription medicines have reported that they often get those medicines from family and friends. So, it’s important to get rid of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines before they become a problem.

You could even review the information in Opioids: Facts Parents Need To Know or Opioid Facts for Teens together with your parents. Talk about how the whole family can reduce the risks of opioid misuse.

Also, people who have long-term pain could discuss all treatment options with their doctors, including alternatives to opioids.

Learn more: Read the Scholastic lesson, “Opioids: What You Need to Know” (PDF).

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Your article seems very helpful for parents and teens. Teen drug abuse is one of the major issues our society has. There is no conscious control over these addictions. Although some drugs need a prescription and are tough to get, people can get them through other ways.. People use opioids as first-line treatment. This is so obvious once a person starts to get the relief, he would go for more to ease himself. The body gets immune to that, and quitting them is hence tricky. We should know the pros and cons of opioids and be aware of our kids' treatment plans. Don't let them misuse it; instead, educate them. Every drug in excess causes addiction. Be it opioid or another.

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