An opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms.

Prescription Opioids

Prescription opioids are often prescribed to treat pain from injuries or severe illnesses, like cancer. In recent years, however, there has been a dramatic increase in the use of prescription opioids that have led to dependence.

According to the CDC, each day 41 people lose their lives to prescription opioid overdose.

Learn more about the dangers of prescription opioids.

About Prescription Opioids

Millions of Americans suffer from pain and are often prescribed opioids to treat their conditions. Though opioids are effective pain relievers, they can easily lead to dependence, called opioid use disorder.

The dangers of prescription misuse, opioid use disorder, and overdose have been a growing problem throughout Minnesota and the rest of the United States, resulting in the deaths of thousands.

Additionally, when prescription opioids are obtained illegally, the risk of overdose increases, as drug dealers often use synthetic drugs (fentanyl) as a mixing agent with opioids.

CDC – Prescribing Practices
CDC – Treatment & Recovery

A bottle of pills spilled onto a table
A pharmacist handing a bag of prescription medication to a patient

Commonly Prescribed Opioids

Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
Oxymorphone (Opana®)
Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)

A hand holds multiple types of pills

The Impact of Prescription Opioids

In 2020, the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses increased by 27%, according to preliminary findings from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Of the 654 opioid-caused overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, nearly a third (207) involved prescription opioids – almost twice as many overdose deaths as those involving heroin (117).

It’s important to understand the risks of prescription opioids and their potential long-term effects.

What are prescription opioids and what are they used for?

Prescription opioids can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, among others.

MN Department of Health info >

Prescription Opioids FAQs >

Signs of an overdose >

Reversing a Prescription Opioid Overdose

Every death caused by prescription opioids overdose is preventable. The life-saving drug, naloxone, can reverse the effects of an overdose when properly administered.

Naloxone is free, legal to obtain and possess, and widely available at pharmacies across Minnesota.

Visit the link below to learn how to acquire naloxone and find resources for training.

Injectable Naloxone

What are Opioids? Learn more about the opioid epidemic in Minnesota.