Pennsylvania Opioid Prevention Project

One way to lower your risk of becoming dependent on opioid pain medication is to talk to your parents or your doctor about questions or concerns you have. If your doctor or dentist prescribes opioids for a painful condition or as part of an after-surgery plan, ask how quickly you can stop taking them or if there are opioid-alternatives for pain relief. Tell your parents how the medication makes you feel, or if you have any side-effects or concerns.



Dealing with the stress of everyday life can be hard. Here are a few suggestions to help manage stress, anxiety or sadness in a healthy way.


Physical activity: One of the most effective stress busters is physical activity. Find activities you enjoy with or without your friends and build them into your routine such as yoga, hiking, biking, skateboarding or walking.


Get enough shut-eye: Between homework, activities and hanging with friends, it can be hard to get enough sleep, especially during the school week. Ideally, you should get nine hours of sleep a night.


Strike a balance: When you plan your week, schedule time to get schoolwork done, but also schedule time to have fun.


Hobbies: Find hobbies or activities that bring you joy such as listening to music, going to the movies or drawing. Make a point to keep doing these things even when you’re stressed and busy.


Let yourself shine: Focus on your strengths. This will help you keep your stresses in perspective and challenge any negative thoughts about yourself.


Talk through it: Build a network of friends you can talk to in order to cope in a positive way. Talk to a sibling, a parent, teacher or other trusted adult.


Unplug: Log out of social media from time to time. Not everything you see on social media is real. In fact, most things you see are not. You are not likely seeing somebody’s problems or mistakes on their timeline. So don’t compare yourself.


Think about who YOU want to be: Peer pressure, that feeling that you have to do something to fit in, be accepted, or be respected, can be tough to deal with. It’s important to reflect on your own personal values and preferences and make decisions. Most students overestimate how many of their peers drink or use drugs. The truth is that many fewer college students drink or use drugs than people assume.


Work on setting boundaries: Give yourself permission to avoid people or situations that don't feel right and leave a situation that becomes uncomfortable. It's not OK for others to pressure, force, or trick you into doing things you don't want to or for others to make threats if you don't give in.


Check in with yourself: Ask, "How am I feeling about this?" "Does this seem right to me?" "What are the pros and cons of making this decision?"


Seek 0ut healthy relationships: Spend time with people who respect your decisions and won't put unfair pressure on you to conform. Remember that you can't (and don't have to) please everyone or be liked by everyone. This can be hard to accept, but it helps to try.


Delay action: When people or situations that make you feel pressured are not avoidable, try the "delay tactic": Give yourself time to think about your decision instead of giving an immediate answer: "Let me think about that," "Can I get back to you?" or "Check back with me in an hour."


Say no: When you can't avoid or delay a pressure-filled situation, practice saying "No thanks" or just "No!" If "no" feels uncomfortable, practice using other responses, such as "Not today," "Maybe another time," or "Thanks, but I can't."


Use an excuse: It's OK to use an excuse if the truth is too challenging. For example, if someone offers you a drink and you want to say no but feel awkward, say you're on medication or have to get up early the next day.


Take a friend: Take a friend with you if you are going to be in a pressure-filled situation and let them know what your intentions are (e.g., "I don't want to drink, so if you see me about to, remind me that I wanted to stay sober").


Bystander intervention: Stepping in to help out when you see someone in trouble can be an effective way to support others and send a message. If you don't feel comfortable directly confronting the person doing the pressuring, try distracting them or inviting the person being pressured to do something else, like "Hey, come to the ladies room with me," or "Let's go over there and take a selfie."

Most importantly - ASK FOR HELP

If you are concerned that you may be using misusing opioids, one of the most important things you can do is ask for help – at any time. There are many ways to get help if you are willing to be open and honest. Take support from a parent or other trusted family member, a clergy person, a mentor, or a counselor.