What can you do to prevent opioid abuse in someone you love?

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June 26th, 2018

Opioid abuse is a crippling epidemic in Minnesota and across the United States. Death from opioid overdoses have increased to alarming levels. It is now estimated that 116 people in the US die every day from opioid overdoses. The Midwest region alone saw a 70 percent increase in opioid overdoses from July 2016 to September of 2017.

We know that all parts of society have a role to play to tackling this serious problem. The “village” includes dental/medical providers, pharmaceutical companies, and patients and their families.

Curbing this epidemic begins with all of us. We recommend:

  1. Ask questions before accepting prescriptions for opioid medications from your health care provider. Sometimes there are excellent and safer choices for pain control that do not contain opioids.
  2. If you require opioid medications, follow directions and do not overuse them. Discontinue use as soon as able.
  3. Do not share your prescriptions with family members or friends.
  4. Carefully store your medications in a secure place where no one else can access them.
  5. Safely dispose of leftover medications. Options include using a community take-back program or contacting your pharmacy. If a take-back option is not readily available, the FDA recommends flushing potentially harmful medications, including some opioids, down the toilet to ensure children or others do not get their hands on them.