Opioids: Safe Use and Disposal Guidelines
.Opioids: Safe Use and Disposal Guidelines
Opioids are prescription pain relievers that your doctor may prescribe to help you experience pain relief. This can be for acute pain or for chronic pain. While they may be prescribed, they are also highly addictive even when used as prescribed.
It’s important to follow some safety guidelines to help prevent addiction for both you and those living in your household. Read on to learn some basic safety guidelines that will help you to make your home as safe as possible.
Don’t Mix Medications and Other Substances
When you begin taking opioids, it’s important to make sure they won’t interact with any other medications that you take. You should also avoid alcohol or any other type of illegal drug as this can be dangerous and cause overdose.
Use Caution with Activities
Opiates can affect your judgment and coordination. When you first begin using them you should avoid operating heavy machinery including driving. Over time you may build up a tolerance and be able to resume these activities but do so with caution.
Talk with your doctor if you feel too impaired to carry out necessary activities. You may be able to take less medication or change to a different type of medication.
Take as Directed
It’s important to pay careful attention to your prescription and take only the amount that is prescribed. This is particularly important if you’ve never taken opioids before. Taking too much can over medicate you and even lead to overdose. This can be deadly.
Do not cut, chew, dissolve or crush your opioid pills. This can lead to overdose and can be deadly. If you use pain patches with opioids always remove the first one before putting on a new one.
Opioids should always be kept in the original prescription packaging and inside a locked location such as a locking medicine cabinet or a lockbox. They should be kept out of reach of small children who may not know what they are.
Be aware of how much medication is in the bottle and how much you should have left. While it isn’t fun to think about, many people who abuse prescription drugs steal them from friends or family members.
If you notice medication missing, it’s important to contact authorities and file a police report. Never give your medication to someone else. It should only be used by the person for whom it is prescribed.
There was a time when people were instructed to flush medications down the toilet, but that has been found to contaminate the water supply with drugs. The best thing to do is to turn medication in to a disposal program.
Many communities host take-back events and programs in cooperation with law enforcement. They will collect your medications and incinerate them. Some retail pharmacies will also take back medications.
If that isn’t available in your area, mix your pills (but do not crush them) with used coffee grounds, kitty litter, or dirt and place them in a sealable bag. Then throw them in the trash.
You may also be able to order free medication bags that contain a substance that breaks the medication down and allows for safe disposal. These are available online and through physicians’ offices.