National Institutes of Health

Effects of Painkiller Abuse on Bodies and Brains

These are just some of the problems painkiller abuse can cause:

You Stop Breathing

Painkiller abuse can slow down or even stop your breathing.

Coma

Painkiller abuse can put you in a coma. That's when nothing can wake you up.

Addiction

Prescription painkillers can be as addictive as heroin—especially if they are smoked or injected. Then, even if you get treatment, it's hard to stay away from the drug. Fortunately, there are medicines that can help someone recover from prescription painkiller addiction.

Overdose

Signs of a painkiller overdose are cold and sweaty skin, confusion, shaking, extreme sleepiness, trouble breathing, and coma.

Death

Many people die from painkiller overdoses. In fact, more people overdose from painkillers every year than from heroin and cocaine combined.

Woman with oxygen mask

Painkiller abuse can put you in a coma. That's when nothing can wake you up. (Photo information)