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You Have the Power to Prevent Opioid Addiction

Publication Number: M2296

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-210-8513. 

Only 1 in 3 rural adults are aware that rural communities are impacted MOST by the opioid crisis. American Farm Bureau Federation, 2017

Unintended opioid deaths are more likely in rural America than in urban America. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017

Opioid Overdose Deaths (per 100,000 people)

2013 Urban 13.7 Rural 14.6
2014 Urban 14.6 Rural 15.6
2015 Urban 16.2 Rural 17.0

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017

FAQs on opioids in rural America

What are opioids?

An opioid (o-pee-oyd) is a medication used to treat pain. It is made from opium or chemicals derived from opium. Opium is also what heroin and other illegal drugs are made from.

Is it easy to become addicted?

It is very easy to become addicted to an opioid. If you use opioids improperly, you can experience serious problems, including overdose and death.

Should I avoid prescription painkillers?

Prescription opioids can provide relief from severe pain, which is a good thing. But just because they are prescription medications doesn’t mean they cannot harm you if you use them improperly. You can become addicted to prescription opioids just as you can become addicted to illegal drugs. Ask your doctor about alternative methods to treat pain.

How can I make a difference?

This is all very serious and maybe frightening, but you have the power to prevent misuse of opioids and addiction. Share this information with other members of your family, so that they will be safe, too.

Here are the steps you can take: 

Know what you have: Is your pain medicine an opioid?

When you get a prescription for pain medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is an opioid. 

Store it securely.

Keep your pain medicine in a secure place. Don’t leave it in a bathroom or kitchen cabinet where anyone might find it.

Never share it.

Don’t share your pain medicine with anyone, even a family member.

Take only what you need.

Take the pain medicine only as long as you absolutely have to. As soon as you can get by with just a normal dose of aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, stop taking the prescription pain medicine.

Turn in whatever is left.

Don’t keep pain medicine you don’t need. As soon as you can get by without it, turn in whatever is left to your pharmacy or a secure “take-back” box in your community. Find your closest take-back box at

This project is supported by the FY17 Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2017-46100-27225, and the FY18 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Grants # TI-18-022.

M2296 (10-19)

Copyright 2019 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications. Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. 

Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. Gary B. Jackson, Director



Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion
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