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The more you know about opioids, the better you can manage your health. We are here to help our members understand opioids and know ways to avoid addiction or get treatment.
Opioids, also known as narcotics, are used to manage pain. For most people, opioids are relatively safe and reduce pain when taken for a short time as prescribed by a medical professional.
Commonly prescribed opioid pain meds
Opioids can have side effects. The most common side effects are drowsiness and impaired judgment. Do not drink alcohol, drive or operate heavy machinery when taking an opioid medication.
Opioids can slow your breathing and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Dangerous reactions can occur if you take too much, take them too often, or mix them with alcohol, illegal drugs, and some medications.
Other side effects can be:
What you can do if you are concerned about the pain medication you take
Opioids are an important pain management option, but your body can become physically dependent. Your body becomes used to opioids and goes into withdrawal when the medication is stopped.
Opioid overuse can lead to addiction or overdose. An opioid overdose causes your breathing to slow down and can cause death.
Minnesota has seen a rise in opioid and heroin addiction. In 2020, 678 Minnesotans died from an opioid overdose. In Hennepin County in 2021, there were 340 opioid related deaths.
Opioid addiction can happen to anyone.
We have joined with other Minnesota health plans to create a Pain Management and Opioids Guide for Consumers.
Get help with opioid addiction using county services that include naloxone distribution, needle exchange, and detox and treatment providers.
The Red Door Clinic offers clean needles and other supplies at no cost. The Red Door Clinic also offers naloxone (Narcan), a medication that can treat an opioid overdose.
The Sheriff’s Office offers online training on how to properly give naloxone. The Sheriff’s Office can also mail you a medical disposal bag (Deterra bag) you can use at home. To get a Deterra bag or schedule a training, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional county resources:
DHS approved 12/1/2021, MC-1257-MC
612-596-1036, TTY 711