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Opioid Use: Signs of Misuse, Adverse Effects, and Treatment

Opioids are substances that are known for their pain-relieving effects. They include both legal and some illegal substances that may have the potential for misuse, which can potentially lead to dependence and/or addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, know that you’re not alone. Opioid addiction and overdose are serious public health problems in the United States. However, evidence-based opioid addiction therapy can lead to positive health outcomes and long-term recovery.
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In 2019, 10.1 million people reported misusing opioids in the past year, with 9.7 million of these people misusing prescription opioids.2

Whether you use opioids as prescribed or misuse opioids, it’s important to understand the dangers that may be associated with them. This may help to prevent potential adverse health effects, addiction, overdose, and even death. t:

What Is Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction, or an opioid use disorder, involves the continued, compulsive misuse of opioid drugs despite the negative impact such use has on a person’s life.

Dangers of Opioid Use and Misuse

Even when they are used as directed, opioids are associated with physiological tolerance and dependence—though the likelihood of developing both effects may be increased in instances of misuse. Both tolerance (in prompting increased levels of use) and dependence (continued use to avoid withdrawal) can fuel the cycle of addiction. Opioid misuse can also increase the potential for an opioid overdose.4

The answer to whether drug addiction qualifies as a mental illness: Yes.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you are wondering how to treat opioid addiction and are considering rehab, it’s important that treatment is tailored to a person’s specific needs and focuses on treating the whole person. Treatment for opioid addiction has the potential to be very effective and may help to prevent relapse.


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