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Healthy You

Opioid Addiction: What to Look For

Thursday, October 26, 2017 8:05 AM

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose from drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and heroin. It is a problem that many families don’t know how to approach or what signs to be on the lookout for. And with President Trump to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, it's important to know what to be on the lookout for. 


Patricia Astrene LCSW CADC, Clinical Program Manager at the Doreen E. Chapman Center at NorthShore, shares what you can do to help reduce risk and prevent opioid addiction or overdose.

Risk factors for prescription opioid abuse and overdose include:

  • Obtaining overlapping prescriptions from multiple providers and pharmacies.
  • Taking high daily doses of prescription pain relievers or taking more than prescribed.
  • Having a mental illness or a history of alcohol or other substance abuse.
  • Obtaining opioid medications from a friend or family member.
  • Using prescription opioids concurrently with other mood altering medications.

Patricia recommends these tips for keeping you and your family safe:

  • Ask your physician if there are any alternatives for pain relief.
  • If you do have a prescription for opioids, know your risk factors.
  • Keep all prescriptions locked in a safe place. Many adolescents and young adults obtain opioids from their parents and grandparents medicine cabinets.
  • Dispose of all outdated or unused opioid medications. Check with your local police department for drop off locations.
  • Know if any older adult relative is taking opioid pain medications. Some older adults have balance and memory issues that may be related to opioid use and misuse.
  • Never drink alcohol while on opioid medications.
  • If you are overusing opioid pain relievers or obtaining multiple prescriptions consider a substance use disorder evaluation.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse – such as opioids – seeking help is the most important and courageous step you can take. The Doreen E. Chapman Center at NorthShore has been helping people recover for the past 40 years. Here you will find a clinical staff member available to answer any questions you may have about our programs. For additional questions, please call 847.570.4633. To schedule a first appointment, please call the Access Center at 847.570.2500 option 2.