There are many misperceptions about opioids and opioid use
disorders. Here are some of the most common myths, debunked:
Myth: Opioids are the most effective drugs for chronic and acute pain.
Truth: Studies have not shown opioids to be significantly more effective than other drugs at
relieving chronic pain and have found that opioids have [more severe side effects] than other pain treatments.
A [recent study] also concluded that
treating acute pain with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen was as effective as treating acute pain with opioids.
Myth: Taking a medication to treat opioid use disorder is just substituting one addiction for another.
Truth: The [medications] used to treat opioid use disorder are prescribed or administered under monitored, controlled conditions and have
been proven to be safe and effective when used as directed. When used in maintenance settings, these medications are not substitutes for heroin
or other opioids.
These medications save countless lives by helping individuals get stabilized and allowing them access to treatments for medical,
psychological, and other problems so they can contribute effectively to their families and to society.
Myth: Opioid use disorder always starts with an opioid prescription for acute pain.
Truth: While prescription opioid use is a [risk factor] for illicit
opioid use, it is just one of a number of factors that can lead to medication misuse or the use of illicit substances.
[Studies] show that only a small fraction of people who misuse
prescribed pain relievers switch to heroin or other illicit opioids.
In fact, a [national
survey] reported that less than 4% of people who had misused prescription opioids started using heroin within five years.