Your Comprehensive Guide to the Opioid Epidemic — and What You Can Do About It

    Fueled by drugs like heroin, fentanyl and the misuse of prescription pain pills, the opioid epidemic has impacted countless families. Prepared with greater knowledge, parents and families can identify opioids, spot early use and take action effectively

    What can you do

    If your son or daughter is actively using opioids, you’re probably experiencing a range of challenging emotions and concerns. You’re not alone in this struggle. We hope the information found in our Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids e-book, along with available support services, can help move you and your child forward in a healthy direction.

    Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids eBook

    Heroin, Fentanyl & Other Opioids

    Learn about how the opioid epidemic began, how you can keep your community safe and how to help a loved one who is struggling.

    Download now

    Key takeaways

    There’s a lot of information provided in the e-book and throughout this site. Keep these key points in mind.


    • Prevention begins with having on-going conversations about the risks of substance use, especially opioids (i.e., prescription pain medications like Percocet® and Vicodin®, as well as heroin).

    • Seek non-opioid alternatives to manage your child’s pain from any injuries, dental work or other situations requiring pain management.

    • Monitor, secure and properly dispose of any prescription pain medications in your home. It may be tempting to keep some "just in case," but the safer option is to dispose of all expired or unused medication. Family and friends are the primary source of misused prescription medicine.

    • Know the signs of opioid misuse such as pinpoint pupils, fatigue, weight loss, drug paraphernalia, wearing long sleeves, etc.

    • If your child is misusing opioids, get an evaluation to determine your treatment options. Comprehensive, evidence-based treatment works — the earlier you intervene and take action, the better.

    • Get and know how to use naloxone in case of overdose.

    • Practice self-care, which may include your own counseling and attending a support group. You are your child's best advocate and your resiliency matters.

    Preventing Drug Use: Connecting and Talking with Your Teen

    Learn ways to create a strong bond with your child to help reduce their chances of engaging in risky behavior.

    Learn more
    Are There Any Alternatives When A Physician Offers My Child Opioids for Pain?

    If your child is in recovery or you're worried about them using opioids, there are many alternatives that can help alleviate your son or daughter’s pain.

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    Safeguard Against Medicine Abuse: Securing and Disposing Medications

    Two-thirds of teens who report abusing Rx medication get it from friends, family and acquaintances. Use proper storage and disposal, to help prevent abuse.

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    How to Navigate the Addiction Treatment System

    Figuring out the type of care needed, getting your loved one into a program and getting it covered by insurance aren't easy. Get the full picture.

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    How to Use Naloxone to Reverse an Opioid Overdose and Save a Life

    In the event of an opioid overdose (including heroin and prescribed pain medications), naloxone can reverse an overdose and save a life.

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    I Know I Need to Take Care of Myself Too, but How?

    You may think “I’m only as happy as my least happy child,” placing their needs above yours, but research suggests your self-care is essential.

    Learn more
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    Contact the helpline

    Personalized support for addressing your child’s substance use or addiction available in English and Spanish.

    Connect via text, email or over the phone.

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    Published

    April 2018

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