Conversation Starters

If you recently had an injury, or have chronic pain, your doctor may talk to you about prescription opioids to help manage the pain. Prescription opioids can be a helpful form of pain management, but they are not always the only option.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released four fact sheets to help you cover important questions regarding pain management options and the potential risks of opioid medications with your doctor.  

View the fact sheets below to help start the conversation with your doctor to make sure you know all the risks and benefits of different treatments and how to reduce the risk of opioid addiction.

For more information, visit: - Helpful Materials for Patients

It’s always a good idea to plan what you would like to discuss with your doctor in advance. You can use this checklist to help. Either download and print it or use the prompts to write down the information.

My Appointment Checklist

For more information, visit:

Chronic pain differs from another type of pain called acute pain. Acute pain happens when you get hurt, such as experiencing a simple cut to your skin or a broken bone. It doesn’t last long, and it goes away after your body heals from whatever caused the pain. In contrast, chronic pain continues long after you recover from an injury or illness. Sometimes it even happens for no obvious reason. Patients with chronic pain deserve safe and effective pain management.

Interested to learn how to manage pain safely and effectively without opioids? View CDC’s Promoting Safer and More Effective Pain Management fact sheet below.

Promoting Safer and more Effective Pain Management

Or visit: - Safely and Effectively Managing Pain Without Opioid

What do you need to know about prescription opioids?

Prescription opioids can be used to help relieve moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following a surgery or injury, or for certain health conditions. These medications can be an important part of treatment but also come with serious risks. It is important to work with your health care provider to make sure you are getting the safest, most effective care. View this fact sheet to learn more.

Prescription Opioids: What you need to know

Stay Informed, Be Informed!

Make sure you know the name of your medication, how much and how often to take it, and its potential risks and side effects.

Learn more at - About CDC’s Opioid Prescribing Guideline

Women who take opioid pain medications should be aware of the possible risks during pregnancy. The use of pain medicines during pregnancy should be carefully considered. Taking opioids during pregnancy can cause problems for you and your baby. The possible risks include withdrawal symptoms in newborns and brain, spine, or spinal cord birth defects.

To learn more about opioid use during pregnancy, view CDC’s fact sheet Pregnancy and Opioid Pian Medication below.

Pregnancy and Opioid Pain Medications

For more information, - About Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Are you, or is someone you know scheduled to have wisdom teeth removed? Pain after wisdom teeth removal is common, so dentists and oral surgeons may prescribe strong medicines that combine a common non-opioid pain medicine (such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin) with a stronger opioid pain medicine (such as codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone).

Here are some important questions to ask your dentist or oral surgeon about opioids before and after wisdom teeth removal.

Will you or a loved one soon have wisdom teeth removal surgery?

How can you help protect your kids by storing medicine safely?

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “Every 9 minutes, a young child under the age of 6 goes to the emergency room because he/she got into medicine”. Remember, child-resistant packaging is not childproof. Put medicine away immediately after every use, even if you need to give/take another dose in a few hours.

Click here to learn more about medicine safety and what parents and caregivers need to know about storing medicine securely at home.

What to know about storing medicine?

Medicines can do a lot of good, but they can cause harm if they get into the wrong hands or are used the wrong way. This is true for both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Safe storage and disposal of medicine in the home is one way to help keep everyone safe from accidental ingestion and medicine misuse.

Safe use of medicine also includes safe storage and disposal. Click here to learn more

Do you know who is taking your medicine?

The following is a comprehensive list of prescription opioid brand names, generic names & street names. When any of these drugs are prescribed to you or a family member for any reason, be aware that they are opioids and should be taken as directed and only when needed.

View the list below, to learn more about common opioid brand, generic and street names.
Opioids: Brand names, generic names & street names

Fentanyl is a synthetic (man-made) opioid that is more toxic than most other opioids and can be prescribed by a physician to help control severe pain. Fentanyl is around 20 to 40 times more toxic than heroin and 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine, making the risk of accidental overdose higher. Fentanyl is also being produced in illegal labs and sold on the streets, often mixed with other drugs.

Where is it found?

Fentanyl is sometimes sold as fentanyl, but other illegal drugs can also contain it, including heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, crack, or meth. It may be in drugs that are in powder, liquid, or pill form.

What can you do?

Be aware that drugs obtained from anywhere other than a pharmacy or a hospital may not be what you think they are or what others believe them to be.

For more information on other fentanyl facts, view the fact sheet below.

The Facts About Fentanyl

Or visit: - Fentanyl Facts

Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by your health care provider. However, people who take opioids are at risk for opioid dependence, addiction, and overdose. These risks increase when opioids are misused. In an overdose, opioids can slow breathing to the point of death. Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed to reverse opioid overdose rapidly.

Opioid Safety and How to Use Naloxone – A Guide for Patients and Caregivers

For more information about naloxone visit:

Opioid addiction, also known as opioid use disorder (OUD), is a chronic and relapsing disease that can affect anyone. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from opioid addiction. As with most other chronic diseases, addiction is treatable. If you or someone you know is struggling, treatment is available.

Click below to learn more about the signs of opioid addiction, recovery is possible, how treatment can help, and about local substance use treatment resources.

What You Need to Know About Treatment and Recovery - There is hope

Recovery is possible

Local Substance Use Treatment Resources

For more information, visit: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

Our Personal Choice Guide can help people identify their decision-making needs, plan the next steps, track their progress, and share their views about the decision.

Personal Choice Guide

For help on how to use this personal choice guide, visit the Pueblo Health YouTube channel.