Precautionary Steps To Take When You're Prescribed An Opioid

Your doctor may choose to prescribe you an opioid for a wide range of reasons, including as a pain-control measure if you're fighting an illness or you've just had surgery. While these drugs can help you, they can also hurt you — and the opioid epidemic that is routinely making headlines is a testament to that fact. This doesn't mean that you should abstain from taking the opioids that you're prescribed, but it does mean that you need to be extremely cautious about dealing with this situation. Here's some advice that you need to keep in mind when considering outpatient drug addiction treatment.

Don't Adjust Your Dosage

When you pick up your prescription, your doctor will give you very clear directives on how to take the opioids. You must ensure that you carefully follow the dosage instructions. For example, if you're supposed to take one pill every six hours, make sure that you do so. If you struggle with maintaining this schedule, give the drugs to a trusted family member who will prevent you from taking a pill before you're supposed to. Taking the drugs when you wish, rather than when you're supposed to, can increase the likelihood that you develop a strong dependency that could send you down a dangerous path.

Don't Change How You Take Them

If you're around other opioid users, especially those who have a drug problem, you'll quickly hear about different ways to take your drugs that might be tempting. It's easy to lose focus on the reality that these drugs are helping you with pain — when you're in a high degree of pain, you might have uncharacteristic thoughts. For example, someone may tell you that instead of swallowing your pill, you'll feel better upon grinding it into powder and snorting it. At this point, this behavior is about getting high, rather than trying to manage your pain properly, so you should never go down the road of trying different methods of taking the drugs.

Be Honest About A Dependency

The big risk of opioids is how easily a dependency can occur. If you feel as though you're struggling with this medication, you should share your concerns with your family doctor. There's no shame in admitting a dependency; it's when you attempt to manage the situation on your own that you can get into trouble. Visiting a drug treatment program if you cannot get your opioid usage under control can be instrumental in saving your life.