What Are the Risks of Using Opioid Pain Medication?

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So, the main risks of Opioid, we have to separate them out into immediate risks, short term risks and long term risks. So, in terms of the immediate risk, you worry that if you take too much of an Opioid that you could actually have an accidental drug overdose. So, what happens is that you get very tired and sedated and you stop breathing normally and eventually you can have an accidental drug overdose because of that and that usually is at a greater chance or at a greater risk if you are taking Opioid along with something else that might make you tired and less aware of this, say for example alcohol, or any other kind of medications that can make you very tired.

Then we think about the short term risks. So, this is over the course of days or weeks. So, what you are worried about are just the side effects that trouble people, say nausea, if they're really groggy or sleepy, if they're constipated that can be a problem at that point sometimes they can cause people to feel really itchy, so the thing is if someone just had surgery, these side effects may be okay for a few days when they are in the hospital because they'll use these medications and then they will go home and they'll kind of stop taking them and they'll feel better, but then we worry about people who have chronic pain who might be on these things for a long time.

So, we have to consider the long term side effects. They can still have the immediate and the short term effects, but the only thing to worry about is they might become more dependent on these medications and actually start taking more and you might see something forming like an addiction.

So, an addiction is when somebody continues to use something even if it's harmful and what we worry about in that case is of course is that someone might have an accidental drug overdose.