Published on March 27, 2018

Keep opioids safe for everyone

Narcotic painkillers, or opioids, are useful medicines.

But they can be deadly in the wrong hands.

med bottlesThat includes when people misuse prescription opioids they get from people they know instead of a doctor.

If your doctor prescribes an opioid for you, here are three ways you can help keep yourself and others safe:

  1. Don’t share your medicines. A medicine prescribed for you is for you and no one else, says Donna Raziano, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy LIFE. “Please don’t give your opioid, or any other medicines, away,” she says.
  2. Keep your medicines in a safe place. Don’t keep them in an unlocked bathroom cabinet or in your purse, for example.
    • Store them up high and out of sight where they can’t be found either by chance or on purpose.
    • It’s best to lock your medicines up, such as in a box or cabinet (or even in a locked bag kept in your fridge), Dr. Raziano says.
    • After taking your pills, immediately put them away before you forget.
  3. Get rid of unused opioids. Read the package instructions for how to safely do this. You can also call your pharmacy to see if they take back unneeded pain meds.

    “If you have an opioid narcotic at home, I strongly encourage you to find it and secure it or dispose of it,” Dr. Raziano says. “Doing so could help save lives.”