Massachusetts Medical Society: Patient Information

Patient Information

MMS Smart and Safe

Smart Scripts Patient Information

Opioid abuse is a serious — and deadly — problem in Massachusetts and throughout the country, and affects people from all races and economic backgrounds.

What are Opioids?

Prescription opioids include pain medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. Regular or longer term use of prescription opioids can lead to dependence or addiction. The street drug heroin is also an opioid. People who misuse prescription opioids are at risk for using heroin. Visit The Family Doctor to learn about opioids, addiction risk factors, symptoms and treatment.

Working with Your Doctor

Talking openly with your health care provider helps you get the best care possible.

Share Information

When discussing a prescription for pain medicine, be sure to tell your doctor if you or any family members have had problems with prescription drugs or other drugs or alcohol, or if you have an addictive personality. Also, let your doctor know what other prescription medication, over the counter drugs, street drugs or alcohol you use.

Ask Questions

Make sure you understand when and how to take your medication, and what the possible risks and side effects might be.

Prescription Opioid Risks and Treatment Resources (pdf)
Spanish Version (pdf)
Portuguese Version (pdf)

Follow Up

Take your medication as prescribed and don’t share your prescription with anyone. Follow up with your doctor’s office if you have questions about the medication or how it makes you feel. If you are using the medication in a way that was not prescribed, or are using more than your doctor recommended, or are experiencing other warning signs of addiction, talk with your doctor.

Information for People Using Pain Pills or Other Opioids has tips for people using pain medication, including the warning signs for addiction. 

Getting Help

If you are worried that you or someone you care about may be struggling with opioid addiction resources are available. 

To find addiction treatment, call the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline at (800) 327-5050 to speak with a counselor, or use an online treatment center locator:

1-855-DRUGFREE is a toll-free, national Helpline helping parents of children who use drugs or alcohol.

National Institute on Drug Abuse has information about drug addiction to help you determine whether you, or someone you care about, may have a drug addiction, and how to get help.

The Medicine Abuse Project has resources for parents and grandparents about prescription medicine abuse and a guide for talking with children about the dangers of prescription medicine abuse.

Medication Assisted Treatment uses medication to treat opioid addiction and help people continue to function while they work towards recovery.

Naloxone  Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a prescription medicine that is used to reverse opioid overdoses and save lives. If you, a friend or family member is at risk for opioid overdose, consider getting and learning how to use naloxone.

Safe Medication Storage It’s important to securely store and monitor your prescription medication to prevent children, family members and visitors from deliberately or accidentally using your medication. Similarly, learn about proper disposal of your pain medication when you no longer need it.

Partnership Drug Free Kids and Medicine Abuse Project



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