People have abused opiates for 5,000 years. As much as medicine depends on them, they’ve always created problems for a percentage of users.

Prescription Painkillers are utterly necessary to the practice of medicine.  But are they “safer” than street drugs?

When taken only as directed, appropriately prescribed by a doctor well-informed about the patient’s history and needs, and carefully monitored during the course of treatment, they’re certainly safer than using a hit of heroin from a streetcorner.  Otherwise?  Not so much.  These are powerful medications, operating on the same brain systems that street drugs affect.

And they’re just as addictive.

If someone you love is taking prescription painkillers, especially synthetic opioids like Oxycontin, you might have questions.  Should you worry?

In this video, RecoverySI Principal Scott McMillin discusses:

  • What’s behind the “epidemic” of painkiller abuse?
  • The difference between misuse, abuse, and dependence.
  • When you should be concerned about a loved one’s prescription painkiller use.
  • What you can do to help with prescription painkiller problems.

You can also view or download the companion snapshot here, and share it with a family member or friend:


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