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NC Medicaid Behavioral Health and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities Tailored Plan will launch July 1, 2024.

Opioid Prevention and Treatment Resources

An estimated 11% of adults experience daily pain. Millions of Americans are treated with prescription opioids for chronic pain. Learn more about opioids so you can educate yourself or others who may be at risk for opioid use disorder and overdose.

What are opioids? How can they be dangerous?


Treatments other than opioids can help you manage pain and may be less harmful.


Learn how to prevent drug misuse and start a conversation with your doctor, pharmacist or trusted family member.


If you are taking opioids for pain management, know to be safe.


If you think you may have a problem with opioid use, treatment is available.

Learn About Opioids

  • prescribed medications to treat pain.
  • used to treat addiction to other opioids.
  • misused illegally to cause a “high”.

Doctors prescribe opioids to help people feel less pain after surgery or accidents. For years, some doctors have prescribed large amounts of pain medicines because researchers believed patients in pain could not become addicted to them.

We now know this is not true. Many people become addicted to opioids while taking these medications as they were prescribed.

  • Prescription drugs, such as oxycodone (Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab), pethidine (Demerol), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), fentanyl (Duragesic), Tylenol with Codeine, and morphine.
  • Drugs used to treat addiction to opioids, such as methadone (Dolophine), buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex).
  • Illegal drugs such as heroin and opium or any pain medication that is not yours.

Opioids cause euphoria—feelings of well-being, joy, and intense pleasure. Opioids also reduce or take away emotional and physical pain. Taking opioids regularly will lead you to develop tolerance to them – which means you must take larger and more frequent doses to feel pain-free or to feel good. Regular use and larger doses also lead to addiction. Addiction is when you want to take opioids, even if you don’t have a medical reason to take them.

Understand Pain

Living with a disability can have a serious impact on a person’s wellbeing, especially when that disability comes with chronic pain. The challenges of living with daily pain contribute to substance abuse rates that are two to four times higher in the disability community than the general population. People with disabilities make up at least 19 percent of the U.S. population or 54.4 million people (Source).

What else helps with pain?

  • Tylenol (1000 mg) taken with Advil (400 mg) has shown to offer as much relief without the side effects of an opioid drug.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you think differently about pain.
  • Meditation and mindfulness training has shown to help relieve stress.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi and other exercises help one focus and relieve stress.
  • Walking, particularly outside for two hours per week has shown to have a positive impact on pain management.
  • Massage, heating and icing, and soaking baths help the body relax.
  • Spending positive, quality time with loved ones can help improve your mood.

Talk About It

  • Speak with your doctor about risks and benefits of prescription pain medications and what is best for your treatment.
  • Call Partners with any questions you may have. You can call 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) or email us at

Be Safe

  • Know what drug you are taking. If you don’t know, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or look it up at
  • Know the strength or dosage of the drug you are taking.
  • Know if the drug you are taking is short-acting, long-acting, or extended-release.
  • Don’t mix your drugs. This includes opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, and cocaine. Call your pharmacist if you are unsure of drug interactions.
  • If you haven’t used for a while – from a few days to several months – you lose your tolerance to opioids. If you start using again, use a low dose. In North Carolina, people who start taking opioids again after being released from jail or prison are eight times more likely to die from an overdose than the general public.
  • Don’t use or take opioids when you are alone!
  • Get NARCAN® (Naloxone), keep it on hand and make sure that others know how to administer it. Learn more about Naloxone. You can get Narcan at most pharmacies without a prescription.
  • If you are prescribed opioids by your doctor, make sure to follow all directions and take the medication as directed by your doctor.
  • Never take medications given to you by friends or family. Only take medications that are prescribed to you by your doctor.

  • Speak with your doctor about risks and benefits of prescription pain medications and what is best for your treatment.
  • Call Partners with any questions you may have. You can call 1-888-235-HOPE (4573) or email us at

Treatment Options

  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a service that uses medication to assist individuals to begin recovery from an opioid use disorder. MAT uses Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications that have been proven to reduce the misuse of drugs, overdose deaths, problem behavior and transmission of infectious diseases.  People are more likely to begin and stay in treatment when these medications are used along with counseling, peer support and recovery services.
  • Counseling may be offered in forms to include individual, group or family sessions. Once a comprehensive clinical assessment is completed, other forms of counseling may be recommended to address co-occurring mental health, infectious disease, or nicotine use conditions.
  • Peer Support includes a range of activities or interactions between people who share similar experiences of being diagnosed with a substance use disorder, mental health conditions, or both.  A peer support specialist gives support to others with similar challenges. The peer support specialist doesn’t take the place of a therapist or clinician. They are people living in long-term recovery who assist others by bringing their own personal knowledge of what it is like to strive toward recovery for a substance use disorder or mental health condition.
  • Recovery services may also include addressing social determinants of health. These are things that can impact your health, such as the need for housing, transportation, employment, social activities, nutrition, safety and health insurance.
  • Many who use prescribed medications to treat substance use disorders also attend Medication-Assisted Recovery Anonymous (MARA). There are a number of Medication-Assisted Recovery Anonymous groups that meet in the Partners area. Learn more about MARA

The goal of Medication Assisted Treatment and recovery support services are to help individuals stop opioid use and establish a strong foundation for lifelong recovery.