Even prescription drugs in the opioid class can be as dangerous as the illegal drug heroin.

Opioids and the body

With extended opioid use, your body begins developing a tolerance, and more medication is needed to feel the same pain relief. This dangerous condition can cause physical dependence, addiction, overdose, and even death.

Opioids and the brain

Opioids produce feelings of euphoria within your brain. As you develop a tolerance to the medication, your brain grows less responsive to it. At the same time, your brain’s natural ability to feel happy diminishes because your brain stops producing endorphins.

Over time, opioid-based medications can also cause emotional and physical responses that lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.