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Preventing Opioid Misuse

November 8, 2023 By: Erendira Zazueta, Coalition Coordinator

As we are in an opioid epidemic, it’s important to learn about how to prevent opioid misuse. People who are addicted to opioids don’t choose to be addicted, it often happens after misusing the pain medication they are prescribed by the doctor. The way this can happen is somebody get seriously injured, they go to the doctor or hospital, they get prescribed pain medication, they misuse the pain medication by taking too much of it so they don’t feel pain, then they end up becoming addicted because they felt good with the medication and now they rely on it. It can happen to anybody which is why it is important to know how to prevent misuse if you are prescribed pain medication.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some information on what you can do to prevent opioid misuse.

· Work with your doctor

o Know your options and consider ways to manage your pain that do not include opioids.

o Talk to your doctor about any and all side effects and concerns.

o Make the most informed decision with your doctor.

· Take and store opioids properly

o Never take prescription opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.

o Always let your doctor know about any side effects or concerns you may have about using opioids.

o Avoid taking opioids with alcohol and other substances or medications. It is very dangerous to combine opioids with other drugs, especially those that cause drowsiness.

o Do not share or sell your prescription opioids.

o Store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends, and visitors).

o If you have any unused prescription opioids at the end of your treatment, find your community drug take-back program or your pharmacy mail-back program, or flush them down the toilet, following guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It’s important to use medications as directed and also keep track of any effects so that you are taking the recommended dose and it is having the proper effect on you. Disposing of them properly helps reduce the likeliness of someone else getting their hands on the medication. By just throwing them away in the trash inside the house it’s possible that maybe a child or teen inside the house can grab them and either use them or sell them. Even throwing them outside, a person going through the trash can find them and sell them or use them as well.

This information is crucial for parents of kids and teens. Keep track of all the prescription pills in the house because kids and teens can be curious about using prescription opioids since they hear their peers talking about them. They may see them in medicine cabinets and be curious about them. If your child or teen are prescribed any pain medication be extra attentive about their use and side effects as well. Teens are more likely to develop an addiction to the opioids because their brains are still developing, so make sure to be cautious about prescription pills they get prescribed or the ones that are for someone else and are sitting in the house. Do your part and set the example by not misusing drugs yourself.

Please continue to follow our blog as we will be providing more information about opioids, drug recoveries, fentanyl, and other topics!


1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2023). Opioid Misuse. Accessed on November 08, 2023.

Abraham O, Szela L, Thakur T, Brasel K, Brown R. Adolescents' Perspectives on Prescription Opioid Misuse and Medication Safety. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2021;26(2):133-143. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-26.2.133. Epub 2021 Feb 15. PMID: 33603576; PMCID: PMC7887877. Accessed on November 08, 2023.

Image Sources

1. Yuyama (2023). Features of Vial Bottle and Storage. Accessed on November 08, 2023.

Margaret Mary Health (2023). Image. Accessed on November 08, 2023.

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