We are losing far too many Americans to drug overdoses, particularly opioid overdoses. This epidemic can only be addressed if we come together and share solutions that work.
The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) convenes national, state and community leaders to exchange best practices and provide resources that help prevent misuse of prescription medicines.
SAFE USE & DISPOSAL
Everyone can play a role in helping prevent addiction from prescription drug misuse by safely using, storing and disposing of prescription medications.
Always talk to your doctor about how to use a prescription medication before taking it.
Be sure to follow dosing recommendations closely.
Don't mix medications without first checking with your doctor. Never mix prescription opioids with alcohol.
Don’t take someone else’s medication.
Always keep prescription medications in a locked or secure place – and always out of the reach of children.
Have a family conversation about the dangers of misusing prescription medication.
Never share medications with family members.
Once you are finished using a prescription medication as directed by a medical professional, you should safely dispose of it rather than keep it in your medicine cabinet for future use.
There are several ways to easily and safely dispose of unused medications right at home.
Learn more below.
One of the best things we can all do to help address the nation’s addiction crisis is to safely dispose of unused prescription medications. There are several options:
You can use household materials to dispose of your unused medications. All you have to do is mix your medicines with kitty litter or old coffee grounds in an airtight container and dispose of it in your trash can.
You can visit a drug takeback center in your community. Click here to find a location near you.
You can use a home disposal kit – you’ll put unused medications in the included pouch, add water, seal and dispose of it in the trash.
If someone you know has started misusing opioids, early intervention is critically important. Learning the warning signs of opioid addiction can help protect your family, friends and communities:
Many physical and behavioral changes could indicate that someone is misusing prescription opioids or illegal drugs, like heroin or fentanyl.
Common signs of opioid misuse:
Increase in fatigue or drowsiness
Rapid weight loss
Frequent constipation or nausea
Decline in personal hygiene
Wearing long sleeves regardless of the season
Unexplained absences from school or work
Loss of interest in hobbies
A drop in grades or performance at work
Spending less time with friends or family
Hanging out with a new friend group
IN THE HOME:
Missing prescription medications
Empty pill bottles
Paraphernalia, such as syringes, shoe laces or rubber hose, kitchen spoons, aluminum foil, straws, lighters
Spotting warning signs in teenagers and young adults can be particularly hard because young people go through many emotional and physical changes.
Seeking out trusted resources can help.
If you suspect a loved one is misusing opioids, there are a number of resources that can help prepare you for a conversation with them.
For parents of young adults who may be misusing opioids, it’s important to talk to your family doctor about prevention and treatment strategies.
Read more about methods for preventing opioid misuse, spotting warning signs and talking to a loved one if you suspect there is a problem.