Some Things to Think About

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Opioid Overdose Deaths

Image of teen looking serious

The increase in opioid overdose deaths has resulted in a national crisis. After marijuana, prescription drugs are the most commonly misused drugs in the country. Every day, 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose.2 In 2016, the number of opioid overdose deaths, including prescription medicines and heroin, was 5 times higher than it was in 1999.3 This caused the government to declare a public health emergency. People in every community in every state have been affected by this crisis.

Daily Life

"I’m addicted to pills. Just got woken up 5 hours into my sleep by withdrawals. Couldn’t go back to sleep due to the crazy hot flashes, sweating, then freezing, goosebumps, restlessness, the need to change position every few minutes after getting comfortable, nausea. Everything hurts."
– Comment submitted to NIDA’s blog for teens

Opioid use can affect every area of your life. Using drugs, especially early in life, can lead to poor grades, worse performance in sports, and bad relationships with friends and family. Opioids also alter judgment which can cause you to do risky things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, like having unprotected sex or getting into a car crash because you drove while under the influence of opioids.4–6


Opioid misuse can cause addiction. Opioids are among the most addictive drugs. When addiction occurs, the body feels a strong need for the opioids. This is like when you are really hungry because you haven’t eaten in a long time. This strong desire, together with a loss of control over the urges to take the drug, is why some people continue to use opioids despite negative consequences.