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Do You Know the Truth About Opioid Use Disorder?

Please read this important information if you take an opioid such as:

  • Hydrocodone

  • Oxycodone

  • Morphine

  • Fentanyl

  • Methadone

  • Codeine

  • Tramadol

  • Oxymorphone

  • Hydromorphone

  • Heroin

Let's test what you know

Please circle either true or false to test what you know:

1. Opioids are effective for long-term management of pain. True or False? 

False. We now know that opioids are not effective for long-term management of pain and also have a high risk of the development of opioid use disorder, overdose, and side effects. There are other safer and more effective treatments now available.


2. Developing opioid use disorder is a choice. True or False?

False. Opioid use disorder is not a choice. It is a brain disease that needs treatment, just like other diseases.


3. Heroin is the only opioid that can cause opioid use disorder. True or False?

False. People can develop opioid use disorder with any opioid, even those prescribed for pain.


4. People with opioid use disorder will never recover. True or False?

False. People with opioid use disorder can recover and live full and productive lives.

What are opioids?

Opioids are:

  • Prescription medicines, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin®), usually used to treat pain

  • Illegal drugs such as heroin

Some signs of opioid use disorder

  • Craving - strong urge to use

  • Difficulty with work, relationships, activities

  • Hard to control use of drug even when it causes harm


Circular graphic that shows the cycle of opioid use disorder: opioid, craving, opioid, higher dose needed to achieve same effect. 

Ask your provider about other signs of opioid use disorder!


Did you know?

Opioid use disorder develops over time and is not a choice or a weakness.

It is a brain disease that needs treatment, just like other diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Profile of a person's head with the brain highlighted.

Treatment works!

Ask your provider about using medication as part of your treatment plan.

  • Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®)

  • Methadone

  • Naltrexone injection

What can you do?

  • Talk to your provider. Ask if there are safer ways to manage your pain.

  • If you think you might be dependent on your opioid or have opioid use disorder, ask your provider about what treatment options you have. 

  • Opioid use disorder is not a choice; it’s a disease. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed to ask for help.

Recovery is possible! Ask your VA provider for help.

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text - 838255

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 2/1/2017
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