Opioids: Addictive Painkillers

Prescription and illegal opioids are commonly abused because they are so addictive. Opioid medications bind to the areas of the brain that control pain and emotions, driving up levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain’s reward areas and producing an intense feeling of euphoria.

As the brain becomes used to the feelings, it often takes more of the drug to produce the same levels of pain relief and well-being, leading to dependence and, later, addiction.

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