Opioids are drugs like heroin and presciption pain killers.

These medications help relieve pain, but also cause sedation and reduced breathing.

If prescription drugs are misused, or sometimes even if they are taken as prescribed...

  • You can have side effects
  • You can become physically dependent
  • You can have withdrawal symptoms
  • The drug may not be as effective
  • You can become addicted
  • You can overdose
  • You can die from overdose

Safe Opioid Use

1. Take as prescribed

  • Make sure your medical provider knows all prescription, over-the-counter, and recreational drugs you use
  • Do not mix opioids with alcohol or other drugs, except as directed by your medical provider
  • Never share medications

2. Store safely

  • A drug lock-box is the most secure option
  • Prevent unauthorized access to your medications
    • Family and friends are the source of 70% of misused prescription opioids
  • Keep opioids and all other medications away from children
  • Dispose of medications promptly when no longer needed

3. Dispose properly

  • 24/7 safe drug disposal boxes are available at many police stations.
  • Flush opioids ONLY as a last resort
    • Never flush any other medications.

4. Get naloxone

You may be at higher risk for overdose if:

  • You have a history of substance abuse or non- medical opioid use
  • You have ever had an overdose before
  • You take methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone)
  • You take a higher dose opioid
  • You take an extended release or long acting opioid
  • You have any of the following medical conditions:
    • COPD, asthma, sleep apnea, respiratory infection, or other respiratory illness
    • Kidney disease, hepatitis or other liver disease, or HIV/AIDS
    • Heart disease
  • You also take benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan), other sedatives, or certain antidepressant medications
  • You smoke or use alcohol

If any of these describe you or someone who has access to your medications, you should get naloxone.