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The Opioid Epidemic

Man Receiving Care

Addiction affects millions of Americans across all races and income levels. As your trusted health care partner, Jefferson Health Plans wants to provide support and share resources for recovery services in a compassionate environment.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs. They include pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine, morphine and many others. Also included are illegal drugs like heroin.

Opioids are usually safe when you use them as prescribed by your doctor to relieve pain from injuries, surgeries and chronic conditions such as cancer. However, they can be misused and cause addiction.

What is Addiction?

Opioid addiction causes you to feel like you can’t live without an opioid. Your body craves the drug and you feel sick without it. Addiction causes a strong urge or craving to take the drug, even though it negatively affects your health and overall life. Even short-term opioid use can lead to addiction and, too often, overdose and death.

What Treatments are Available?

Medication Assisted Treatment
There are medications that can help you to stop using opioids. These medications reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms, so you don’t feel sick and are able to work on recovery. Talk to your doctor about medication assisted treatment.

Centers of Excellence (COEs)
COEs for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) were designed to engage the community to identify all persons with OUD and make sure every person with OUD achieves optimal health. This means COEs take care of the whole person, including OUD treatment, physical health treatment and behavioral health treatment. They provide support and resources for people seeking services and treatment. Find an Opioid COE

Overdose Prevention with Naloxone
Naloxone is a non-addictive drug that can save lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time. The Pennsylvania Department of Health signed a standing order prescription for naloxone. Click here for more information on how to get naloxone. 

Prescription Drug Take-back Program

If a medication is expired or no longer needed, it’s important to protect the safety of others by disposing of it properly. To get rid of unused prescription drugs safely, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs website. Enter your ZIP code or county to find your local prescription drop-off location.