How
Opioids
Work

It’s a normal day when the Monster first claws its way into your life. Imagine you’re helping a friend move. The two of you load all the furniture except for one last antique dresser. It looks heavy, but you can handle it. You bend down, and start to lift. BANG!

It isn’t the sound of the dresser hitting the ground that’s ringing in your head. You’ve just ruptured the disk in your lower back. Soon, you’ll go to the doctor, who will then prescribe you opioids for the pain. You begin to take more and more opioids to relieve your pain. All you can think about is not running out, and before you know it, you’ll start searching for even more opioids than your doctor is willing to prescribe.

The Monster has found its next victim.

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What is
an Opioid?

Prescription opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.9

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Opioids
in the Brain

Opioid drugs work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, thereby reducing the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain.9

However, frequent use of opioids can physically change the brain to the point where it needs opioids to function normally.2

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Effects of
Long-term Use

After taking opioids for an extended amount of time, users can become physically dependent, which in some cases can lead to addiction.2

Users suffering from dependence believe they need opioids to feel normal. As the effects of opioids begin to wear off, the brain experiences cravings and withdrawal symptoms. To avoid these cravings and withdrawal symptoms, users begin to take opioids just to feel normal.2

Opioid addiction is when opioid use becomes compulsive. The user cannot stop taking opioids even if it costs them their family, their career, or worse, their lives.9

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