Insights & Perspectives
Some opioids are available legally as prescription medications to treat moderate to severe pain. Other forms of opioids are considered illegal drugs, such as heroin. Although opioid medications are effective for pain relief, they also come with significant risks.
For some people, their first exposure to opioids is when they receive a prescription from their doctor to treat acute pain following surgery or an injury. Unfortunately, most people don’t know their risk for addiction before an opioid is prescribed to them.
For people struggling with a substance use disorder, one of the biggest barriers to getting treatment is the stigma associated with addiction. We recently signed the No Shame Pledge to help combat this stigma.
After family physicians, dentists are among the top opioid prescribers in the U.S., writing 1 out of every 10 prescriptions for opioids. They are also the highest prescribers of opioids to patients 18 years and younger.
For many people, their first exposure to opioids is when they receive an opioid prescription from their doctor to treat acute (short-term) pain following a surgical procedure.
Opioids are effective at managing moderate to severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury—but they come with a risk of addiction. And that risk is higher for some people than others.