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Give us our medicine! We don’t want to die in agony…

The reality behind opioids-based medicine and how they can kill you…

In 2016, prescription opioids were involved in more deaths and hospitalisations than heroin.

1,045 Australians died of an opioid overdose in 2016.

In Australia there are over 60 different prescription painkillers which are an opioid.

Opioids are also found in many other medicines you might not expect, such as cough syrup.

It can be hard to know what is or isn’t a prescription opioid.

What are opioids?

Opioids can be a type of prescription medicine often provided for severe pain.

Common types of prescription opioids include codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine.

Prescription opioids work by depressing or slowing down the function of the central nervous system – your brain and spinal cord – to relieve pain. As well as working on trying to reduce pain, they also affect other parts of your body.

Why are they dangerous?

The misuse of prescription opioids can result in an accidental overdose, hospitalisation and even death.

While prescription opioids can be very effective in managing severe pain, like many medications they can also cause negative side effects and have unintended consequences.

In fact, 80% of people who take prescription opioids for more than three months will have a negative side effect, which may include slower and shallower breathing and drowsiness.

Did you know…

3.1 Million Australians are prescribed opioids yearly.

Over the course of a year, 20% of Australians over 45 years will be prescribed at least one opioid.

1 in 10 people who misuse them become dependent.

All opioids can be addictive, and it’s important to be aware of your risk of developing a dependence. Some people are more at risk than others, particularly if they have been taking them for a long time, have been taking high doses, are a smoker, have a history of mental illness, or a family history of addiction.

The first steps of dependency can begin after just 5 days.

The likelihood of becoming dependent increases with every extra day you take the medication, starting from the third day.

After the fifth day, the chances of you becoming dependent increase significantly.

Taking opioids, over a period of time, can lead to certain physical (the body) and psychological (the mind and emotions) changes.

1,045 Australians died of an opioid overdose in 2016.

This is a 62% increase since 2007.

In 2016, prescription opioids were involved in more deaths and hospitalisations than heroin.

Every day in Australia, prescription opioids are involved in nearly 150 hospitalisations and the death of 3 people.