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Future Health

Opioid Safety

April 16, 2018 

As the opioid epidemic grows, it is important to understand that addiction does not simply occur when someone uses illegal drugs such as heroin – addiction can occur with a prescription to an addictive substance such as opioids. While there are many ways this starts, this blog is going to specifically talk about opioids that are prescribed to you by a doctor. Here are some tips when prescribed opioids.


After an injury, your doctor may prescribe you an opioid such as oxycodone or codeine to help ease the pain. Taking these pills as the doctor recommends is crucial. Most people will take the medicine and can stop when their prescription is empty. However, there are a few people, who with a predisposition to addiction, will not be able to simply stop taking their medication. Even though it is prescribed by a doctor, addiction can happen. It's important to remember that this wasn't their choice and that it's a disease.


Here are some tips for staying on the right track:


  • First and foremost, if you have a history of substance abuse: let your doctor know!


  • Talk with your doctor about options. Not everyone will need the strength of opioids to alleviate their pain, so a prescription may not be necessary. There are other medications that help reduce pain and other therapies that can be used first.


  • Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing any side effects such as trouble sleeping or drowsiness. Also let them know if you’re having trouble swallowing the pill. Crushing them could release them into your blood stream too fast.


  • Only take the dosage prescribed. Do not take it upon yourself to increase your dose because you are in pain and that includes taking it sooner than the doctor reccomends.


  • Be mindful of other substances you’re putting in your body. Alcohol, sleep aids, and other medications can negatively interact with opioids. Consult with your doctor before using other substances.


  • Keep all medications away from children and do not share with others.


  • Properly dispose of opioids when done. To find a drop off site, click here. To learn about how to dispose of certain medications, click here.