Prescription opioids can be effective for managing sever pain after an injury and surgery. However, prescription opioids can be dangerous and can have long lasting health effects. When opioids attach themselves to the receptors in many areas of the brain, they block signals of pain sent from the brain to the body and large amounts of dopamine are released. Dopamine is the chemical in our bodies that reinforces our behaviors and repeating pleasurable experiences. The dopamine that is released can heavily motivate individuals taking prescription opioids to take the drug continuously, despite any other negative consequences. If a doctor has prescribed you or your child prescription opioids, talk to your child about your expectations about drug use and use follow these strategies to safeguard your medication:
- Never share or use another person’s prescription opioids.
- Keep medications locked away and carefully monitor them.
- Dispose leftover or expired medicines at a drop box or disposal site near you.
For help in locating local mental health and substance abuse services, call the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services hotline (1-800-522-9054). The hotline is staffed around the clock to provide information and assistance.