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Rx Opioid Abuse & Misuse

What are Prescription Opioids?

Prescriptions Opioids are medications prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain – for example pain from dental surgery, sport injuries, or cancer etc. These medications come in pill form and generally are safe when taken for short periods and prescribed by a medical professional. However, dependence and addiction may be risks from taking prescription opioids. Since these opioids produce euphoria in addiction to pain relief – people can begin misusing by taking larger quantities, sharing medication, or taking medication without a doctor’s prescription. When misused, prescription drug can lead to overdose and death. An opioid overdose can be reversed with the use of naloxone when given right away.                                                

Risk Factors for Prescription Opioid Abuse

Research has show that there are some risk factors that can make someone vulnerable to abusing prescription opioids.

  • Obtaining overlapping prescriptions from multiple pharmacies and providers.
  • Taking a high dosage of prescription pain relievers.
  • Having a mental illness or a history of substance abuse.
  • Living in a rural area and having low income. 

How to properly dispose of your prescription opioids

It is very important to dispose of your prescriptions drugs to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse.

Disposal in Household Trash

If there are no drop boxes, take-back programs of DEA authorized collectors in your area, you can dispose of your medication by following these steps.

  1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unappealing substance such as kitty litter, dirt or used coffee grounds.
  2. Place the mixture in a plastic ziploc bag.
  3. Throw the bag in your household container.
  4. Scratch out all your personal information from the prescription label of your empty pill bottle.

What to do if you or someone you know needs help

 Feel like you’re in a crisis? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with someone now. Even if you aren’t feeling suicidal, they cover other issues and will help put you in contact with someone.

  • Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (they don’t just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by)

If you need information on drug treatment, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.