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Opioids have been used for thousands of years. Some opioids come from plants.
Others are made in a lab. Prescription opioids are used as medicine but can also be misused. Illegal opioids can be used to get high. Misusing prescription opioids or taking any illegal opioid can be dangerous.

How do opioids work?
Opioids affect nerve cells (neurons) in your brain and body. They tell your brain to block pain and they also make you feel calm and happy. 

  • Doctors prescribe opioids to people who are in serious pain from things like
    dental surgery, sports injuries, and cancer.
  • If people follow their doctor's instructions and take the right amount of
    medicine, opioids can help their pain go away.
  • But these medicines can also be dangerous if misused.
    Both opioid medicine and illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl can cause
    addiction, overdose, or even death. 

What are opioids' effects?

Short-Term Effects

  • Feelings of calm, sleepiness, confusion
  • Slowed or stopped breathing (can cause fatal overdose)
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constipation

Long-Term Effects

  • Addiction
  • Heart infection
  • Lung infection
  • Muscle pain

How do you become addicted to opioids?
Over time, the body gets used to having the drug and feels terrible without it. 
Withdrawal is like having the flu but much worse, and it can make it hard to stoptaking the drug. If a person starts seeking and taking an opioid despite how it is interfering with work, school, or relationships, it is called addiction.
It is important to know that anyone can become addicted to opioids. It does not
matter where you live or how smart you are. There is no way to predict who is likely to become addicted.

How do opioids affect your life?
If you are addicted to opioids, the drug can take over your life. Getting more opioids and getting high can become all you think about. And it makes it hard for you to enjoy things that used to make you happy.

Opium Fact Sheet >

Oxycodone Fact Sheet >

Can you imagine if the things you loved no longer made you feel happy?


The Effects of Opioids on your Brain and Body


Not My Brain Not My Brain
Not My Brain Not My Brain