Opioid painkillers are highly addictive forms of medicine. People who use prescription opioids develop addiction not just from their prescriptions but from taking them from family members or friends. By finding out what to do when you are to take opioids for an injury or illness, you can better your chances of being safe from addiction.

Before You Start Taking Opioids

Opioids may not be safe for you to take depending on your medical history, family history, and personal history of substance abuse. Medical conditions can increase the side effects of opioids, such as sleep apnea, obesity, anxiety or depression, or fibromyalgia. Your doctor will ask you about these risk factors before prescribing you any opioids. It is important to be honest with your doctor to avoid dealing with the negative consequences opioids can bring. The safest time to prevent opioid-related problems is before you start.

The CDC’s Guidelines for Physicians Prescribing Opioids

When a doctor follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, they know to prescribe the lowest effective dose for a short period when treating acute pain. If you are dealing with chronic pain not related to cancer or cancer treatments, opioid medications are not safe. Your doctor should be looking into other methods of treatment before thinking about opioids. Your doctor should also work with you on realistic treatment goals to help you enjoy life and gain improvements in your abilities instead of relying on opioids to take care of it. There is, after all, no cure for chronic pain. You will be asked to sign an opioid therapy agreement to only use opioids as prescribed and only obtain them from a pharmacy or a doctor. That even if your medication is lost or stolen, you will not receive additional medication until your prescription runs out.

How to Safely Manage Your Medications

First, tell your providers about the medications you are taking to avoid any dangerous interactions with your other drugs. Read the instructions and warnings on the drug safety sheet to check your response to the medication. If you experience any side effects, report them to your doctor right away. If you are done with your painkillers, dispose of them in a local take-back program to avoid you or someone else abusing them. By having open, honest communication with your doctor, you will not have to face the negative consequences of opioids.

Opioids can be very dangerous if you do not use them safely and responsibly. What starts as medication for pain can turn into a life-long addiction. Doctors need to follow the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids, and patients need to have open communication with their doctors. Alta Loma understands how difficult it may be to take your pain medication without having to worry about being addicted to it. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with tools such as 12-step meetings, individualized therapy, medication management, and more. Please call (866) 457-3843 to learn more.