* What Are Opioids? Opioids are a type of medicine that can help reduce moderate to severe pain. Opioids are usually given after surgery or a major injury and are taken for a short amount of time. If you have chronic pain (pain that lasts longer than a few weeks), these medicines may be taken every day for a longer period of time. Opioids must always be prescribed by a doctor. It’s very important to follow your doctor’s advice about medicines for your safety.