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 But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date.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 Use Disorder: What You Should Know


Am Fam Physician. 2018 Mar 1;97(5):online.

  See related article on buprenorphine therapy for opioid use disorder

What are opioids?

Opioids (OH-pee-oyds) are a type of drug. Doctors give these drugs to people to make pain go away. Some people become addicted to them.

What is opioid use disorder?

Opioid use disorder is when you cannot stop taking the drugs, even if you want to, or can't stop yourself from using more than your doctor prescribed. People with this problem may not feel well if they do not take the opioids. They may have stomachaches, diarrhea, and a fever. This is called withdrawal.

What can I do if I have opioid use disorder?

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?

Your doctor

AAFP's Patient Information Resource

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Narcotics Anonymous

Telephone: 1-818-773-9999

National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Library of Medicine

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Opioid Treatment Program Directory

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 © 2018 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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