how long does it take to develop an addiction to prescription opioids?


The term “opioid addiction” can evoke images of drug abuse and illicit activity, but it can just as easily refer to the dependence developed after taking prescribed opioids for an extended period of time. The truth is that many people who are prescribed opioids to manage chronic pain can struggle with becoming addicted without even realizing it. So how long does it take to develop an addiction to prescription opioids?

Soaring Into Opioid Dependence

The answer to this question can vary from person to person, as everyone has a unique experience with how prescription opioids affect their body and mind. Some people may take months of consistent opioid use before developing a dependence, while others may find themselves addicted after only a few weeks. The key factor for predicting opioid dependence is how much of the drug is used during a given time period. Taking opioids for long periods of time or in high doses can increase the likelihood of becoming dependent on the drug.

The symptoms of opioid dependence can also vary from person to person. Generally, common symptoms include becoming tolerant of the drug’s effects over time, feeling withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug, and experiencing physical and psychological cravings for the drug. If these symptoms are present, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider right away to discuss tapering off the medication and finding alternative pain management options.

Riding The Wave Of Addiction

It’s important to remember that opioid dependence can happen to anyone, regardless of their intentions. It’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider when taking opioids, and to never take more than the prescribed amount. Even with precautionary measures, if you find yourself feeling dependent on opioids, there are a number of treatment options available to help you get back on the path to recovery.


It’s impossible to predict how long it will take to develop an addiction to prescription opioids, as everyone’s experience will be unique. It’s important to be mindful of any changes in your physical or mental health while taking opioids and to speak to your healthcare provider if any concerns arise. With the right treatment and help, it is possible to break free from opioid addiction and begin the journey to recovery.