Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Opioid Addiction: What You Should Know


Am Fam Physician. 2006 May 1;73(9):1580.

  See related article on opioid addiction.

What are opioids?

Opioids (say: OH-pee-oyds) are a kind of drug. Sometimes doctors give these drugs to people to make pain go away. Some people become addicted to them.

What is opioid addiction?

Opioid addiction is when you cannot stop taking the drugs, even if you want to. If you are addicted, you may not feel well if you do not take the opioids. You may have stomachaches, diarrhea, and a temperature. This is called withdrawal.

What can I do if I am addicted?

Your doctor can give you medicine to help you stop taking opioids. You also should stay away from other people who are addicted and from places where you can get the drugs. You can go to a counselor or support group to talk about your problem.

Where can I get more information?

Ask your doctor about places close to where you live that can help you. For more information, go to:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Web site:

Telephone: 1-877-696-6775

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Web site:

Crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Narcotics Anonymous

Web site:

Telephone: 818-773-9999

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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