What is an opioid?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids are a class of drugs used to reduce pain. Many opioids are legal which include pain medications prescribed by doctors such as morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. Heroin is an illegal opioid and its use has increased across the U.S. among all men and women.

Why are opioids so dangerous?
The feelings of pleasure that result from taking an opioid often make you want to continue experiencing those feelings, which may lead to misuse, abuse and therefore to addiction.
At lower doses, opioids may make you feel sleepy, but higher doses can slow your breathing and heart rate, which can lead to death by overdose.

What are some of the signs of opioid overdose?
According to the CDC, an average of 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Some of the signs of overdose are listed below:
  • Person looks extremely pale and/or the skin feels clammy to the touch
  • Body is limp
  • Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
  • Vomiting or gurgling noises
  • Cannot be awakened or are unable to speak
  • Breathing or heartbeat slows or stops

What are some of the signs of opioids misuse and abuse?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a person is abusing medication if he/she is taking medicine in a way that is different from what the doctor prescribed. It could be:
  • Taking a medicine that was prescribed for someone else.
  • Taking a larger dose than you are supposed to.
  • Taking medicine in a different way than you are supposed to. This might be crushing tablets and then snorting or injecting them.
  • Using the medicine for another purpose, such as getting high.
How to get help?
Talk with your doctor if you are misusing opioid medication. Your doctor can refer you to help.
For more information on opioid overdose click here: https://www.nyoverdose.org/
For more information about substance abuse resources in New York state go to:


In response to the current opioid epidemic, we are posting the information below for those seeking help regarding opioid dependence. 
Beacon Health Options is the Behavioral Health vendor for MetroPlus. They can provide you with consultation and referral services. They can be reached at 1-855-371-9228 or at:
MetroPlus also offers our Achieve Solutions web portal. This tool provides education and support related to Behavioral Health issues including addiction.https://www.achievesolutions.net/achievesolutions/en/Home.do
The City of New York has resources you may find useful on their NYC Well website.
The New York State Office of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism Services offers a Hopeline for peer support and treatment referrals. The phone # is 1-877-8-HOPENY. Their website also has a link for treatment referrals for both inpatient and outpatient services.
PLEASE NOTE: Effective January 1, 2019, CMS announced new strategies to further help Medicare Part D plans prevent and combat opioid overuse, including additional safety alerts at the time of dispensing as a proactive step to engage both patients and prescribers about overdose risk and prevention. Click here to learn more.