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We weren’t told about addiction when opioids were prescribed

Health care providers often do not discuss the addictive qualities of opioids or inform patients of alternative treatment options.

By Elaine Pozycki

My family, like so many other families, was devastated by the loss of our son Stevie to the opioid epidemic. Stevie developed a dependency and addiction to opioids after they were prescribed following a sports injury in college he received for a rotator cuff surgery. When he was prescribed these powerful drugs, neither he nor I were given any information on how addictive these drugs could be or how fast a dependency begins.

I truly believe that had my son or I been told of the potential for dependency or addiction of the opioids he was prescribed, he would be alive today.

Had I only known how addictive these drugs could be, I would have decided to look for alternatives and I would have known to look for the signs and symptoms of dependency and addiction.

I had no idea that those prescriptions for opioids I was picking up to help my son actually had the same effect on his brain and body as heroin.


If the doctor been required to have a simple conversation to explain to me what was being prescribed to my son, about the dangers of opioids, or alternatives that existed, it would have saved his life.

The Problem

Many patients and their families are not aware of the risks associated with opioids. Many health care providers miss an opportunity to educate their patients and help them make an informed choice by failing to discuss the risks and alternative treatment options when prescribing opioids.

The Solution

Health care providers should be required or incentivized to inform patients of the risks associated with opioids and discuss alternative treatment options whenever prescribing opioids.

Take Action

Has your family experienced inadequate prevention, or obstacles to receiving treatment?

Your story can help others impacted by addiction and become a powerful tool for policy change. By sharing our experiences, we can help others feel like they are not alone and break the stigma associated with substance use.

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Help us increase awareness of the systemic barriers to addiction prevention and care.