stop addiction logo, link back to home page

FOR HELP: 1-800-327-5050 (tty: 1-800-439-2370)

Monday-Friday 8am-10pm | Weekends 9am-5pm

Risks and Risk Factors For Opioid Misuse:

Who is at Risk? Everyone.
Prescription drug misuse can impact anyone, at any time. In fact, studies show addiction does not discriminate. Youth who are affected may:
• Live in big cities or small towns in any area of the state
• Come from both rich and poor families
• Do well in school or poorly in school
• Come from different ethnic backgrounds, or be from a variety of races
• Have many friends or be more isolated

Some Risk Factors…
While anyone can misuse prescription painkillers, there are some behaviors that may make someone more likely to misuse and become addicted. Some research shows youth are more likely to misuse prescription drugs if they:
• Feel academic pressure or struggle to maintain balance between schoolwork, grades and extracurricular activities
• Want to fit in or bond with peers or gain acceptance
• Have easier access to prescription drugs (inside a home medicine cabinet, for instance)
• Have easier access to prescription drugs for an injury or medical procedure
• Have a family history of drug or alcohol dependence

Why Is Prescription Painkiller Misuse Bad For Your Health?
When taken as prescribed, prescription painkillers (called opioids) can manage pain safely and effectively. But taking medication that is not prescribed for you, taking more pills than have been prescribed, taking too many prescription opioids at once, or taking them in ways other than prescribed can have short-term and long-term harmful effects on the brain and body, including serious medical complications, addiction, brain damage, overdose and death.

Opioid misuse among young people can also lead to significant trouble in school, trouble with the law, and falling-out with family and friends.

As a parent, the best thing you can do is talk to your kids about opioids, discuss alternatives to opioids with prescribers, and take precautions to ensure that kids or other family members at risk do not have access to opioids.

People who misuse opioids may seek to intensify their experience by taking the drug in ways other than prescribed.

Road to Heroin
Recent national data suggests those who misuse prescription opioids may be more likely to use heroin. Heroin is easily available, cheap on the street, and can have drastic immediate and long-term impacts. Resources are available to help those who want to quit.

click here for warning signs page
click here for risks page
click here for prevention page
click here for commonly misused page
click here for get help guide page
click here for naloxone description

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse, BSAS
Posted June 2015
Disclaimer: The contents of this website are not intended to offer specific medical advice and should not be used for diagnosing or treating particular conditions. For questions about your own health, ask your doctor.