Pennsylvania Opioid Prevention Project
Opioid misuse can negatively affect brain development

As mentioned in the FACTS section, a teen’s brain is not fully developed, particularly the area in the front of the brain (called the prefrontal cortex), that is responsible for making sound judgments and decisions. Unfortunately, developing brains are generally more prone to damage. This means that experimentation with alcohol and drugs, including prescription opioids can have lasting, harmful effects on teens’ brains and health.


Opioid misuse is illegal

Misusing prescription opioids other than how they are prescribed by a doctor is illegal. Sharing prescriptions or even using them from your parent’s medicine cabinet is against the law. It’s also illegal to use and possess other opioids like heroin.


Family history increases your risk of developing a substance use disorder

A family history of alcoholism or other substance dependencies can increase your risk of developing a substance use disorder by fourfold. Research has consistently shown that 40 to 60 percent of the risk for developing alcoholism can be attributed to genetic factors. This number is even higher for other substances, including cocaine and nicotine. No one plans to become addicted to a drug. Instead, it begins with a single use, which can lead to misuse, which and then to addiction.


Opioid use causes short- and long-term consequences for your health

Opioids reduce the perception of pain but can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, euphoria, nausea, and constipation. In severe cases, people can die from an opioid overdose. In fact, more people overdose from opioids every year than from other substances. What you may not know is that it can take as little as five days to become dependent on opioids!


If you would like to learn more about opioid use disorder and how to recognize the signs, check out our FACTS section.