Pennsylvania Opioid Prevention Project

How do you know if someone is living with an Opioid Use Disorder?

The truth is: Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, gender, location, lifestyle, social status or education. It can happen to anyone.


Below are ways to recognize OUD in a loved one or yourself.


  • Have you/they taken opioids for longer than intended or in larger amounts than intended?
  • Do you/they crave or have a strong drive to use opioids?
  • Do you/they spend a good amount of time and effort to get and use opioids?
  • Have you/they missed work, given up spending time with friends and family or doing enjoyable activities to use opioids?
  • Do you/they give up important social, recreational or work-related activities to get and use opioids?
  • Have you/they been in situations that are hazardous to your/their emotional health or physical safety to get opioids?
  • Are opioids having a negative effect on your/their life? If so, are you/they still using?
  • Do you/they want to cut down or stop using opioids but can’t?


Whether you are asking these questions of yourself or a loved one, answers of “yes” to three or more are enough to point to the possibility of opioid use disorder. While not a clinical diagnosis, the results should be enough to start a conversation with the person affected. The discussions might not be easy, but they are an important first step in facing and overcoming OUD.