What You Can Do to Prevent Opioid Misuse

If you are prescribed opioids for your pain, we encourage you to discuss options with your doctor directly.

There are many ways to manage pain safely and effectively. Work with your doctor to make an informed decision. Some options may actually work better than opioids and have fewer risks and side effects.

Patients can take these steps to reduce their risk of opioid dependence:

  • Check in with your doctor on a regular basis to make sure the medication you're taking is working and you're taking the right dose.
  • Use your medication the way it was prescribed. Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
  • Don’t share your medication with family or friends.
  • Keep your medication in a secure place, such as a locked box or cabinet.  

Remember, anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing addiction. In addition to the serious risks of addiction, abuse, and overdose the use of prescription opioids can have many side effects, even when taken as directed.

Get Rid of Unused Medication

Unused medications often get into the wrong hands — if you have unused opioid medicines:

  • Put them in a dropbox in your community or with the local police or fire department. 
  • Don't flush medication down the drain unless the label or accompanying patient information instructs you to.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides a tool for locating drug disposal locations near you. Find a year-round drug disposal location. The DEA is an independent organization that offers health information that you may find helpful.