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Health Information For Teens
Opioids are very good at controlling pain, but there are risks to taking these medicines. They can cause serious side effects and lead to dependence, addiction, and overdose. The misuse of these medicines has contributed to the
crisis in America. Hundreds of people die from opioid overdoses every day, and millions are fighting addiction.
If you’ve been prescribed a medicine that contains an opioid, follow this opioid safety checklist. Share this information with the parent or trusted caregiver who will be helping you take, store, and get rid of the medicine.
Opioid pain medicines prescribed for children and teens include:
If you take an opioid pain medicine for a few days, you might notice side effects like sleepiness, constipation, itching, and stomach upset. When opioids are taken as directed, these side effects may be annoying, but are not dangerous.
Taking opioids for longer brings other risks, including:
Taking too much of an opioid or mixing it with other drugs and/or alcohol can lead to overdose and death.
Most kids and teens who take opioids for a short time as instructed by a health care provider do not get addicted. For example, a teen who has surgery or a broken bone and takes an opioid as directed is very unlikely to become addicted. But taking more of the medicine or taking it for longer than prescribed increases your chances of becoming addicted.
Sharing this medicine with others puts them at risk for addiction or overdose. Do not share your medicine with anyone.
Someone addicted to opioids will want to get more when the prescription runs out. This can lead to inappropriate or risky behavior, such as lying to a health care provider to get a new prescription, buying opioids from a friend, stealing opioids from friends or family, or buying and using street drugs (such as heroin).
Sometimes people take opioids prescribed for someone else. For example, a teen might take a younger sibling’s medicine or someone might take a friend’s opioid to manage pain, anxiety, or sleep problems. They might think that prescription opioid medicines are safer than street drugs because health care providers prescribe them.
But prescription opioids can lead to severe side effects, dependence, addiction, and overdose. Keeping the opioids locked up will help make sure that only person they were prescribed for takes them.
As soon as you’re done taking the medicine, your parent or caregiver should get rid of any unused medicine. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist how to get rid of extra medicine safely. They may recommend that you flush the medicine, mix it with coffee grounds and then throw it away, or take it to a drug take-back program. The FDA has more information.
Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This free and confidential service is available in English and Spanish.
There are many downsides to experimenting with prescription drugs. Find out more in this article for teens.
Find out what you can do if you think you or a friend has a drug or alcohol addiction – from recognizing the warning signs to suggestions to help you stay clean.
Medicines can cause problems if they get into the water supply or the wrong hands. Find out how to dispose of old or unused meds safely in this article for teens.
It’s not hard to find drugs, and sometimes it may seem like everyone’s doing them or wanting you to do them. But there are downsides (and dangers)Â to taking drugs.
Taken medically, depressants help people get through problems like anxiety. But when used as a recreational drug, they can cause problems and affect some of the body’s vital functions. Find out more.
Taking responsibility for your own health care means understanding things like prescriptions. Read our tips for teens on filling a prescription.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Learn more about heroin and its effects in this article for teens.
Figuring out health care is part of becoming an independent adult. Here are tips for teens on what that involves, and how to choose your own doctor.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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