What is contributing to the opioid epidemic in Ohio? Unfortunately, there are many different factors, including the accessibility of unused medications. For those who have taken pain medication for surgery or another painful condition and are now no longer in need of opioid prescription medication, there are options for proper medication disposal.
The Opioid Crisis in Ohio
The opioid crisis in Ohio is complex, but it begins in large part with the prescription of opioid medications for chronic and acute pain. For a number of years, doctors would prescribe opioids without a lot of thought about the potential consequences for the patient. They were considered to be a tool for pain management.
However, it has become increasingly clear that opioids are very addictive, and people who have used them for pain management have become addicted and have turned to other drugs such as heroin as well.
The opioid crisis is not just about those who have been prescribed medication, however. With pain medication in the house, it is easy for others who are already addicted or who would like to experiment to access that medication. It is especially simple if the people who took the medication are no longer taking it. For instance, a patient who has back surgery and gets prescribed opioids might start to feel better and decide not to take these pain medications any longer. This means that teens or others in the home could access those unused medications, making them a potential starting point for addiction.
Disposing of Unused Medication
The disposal of prescription meds is a practice that might seem like just another item on your to-do list, but it could actually save someone’s life. You cannot say that about most of your household chores, so this one should be first on your list of priorities.
The US FDA states that “consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted, or unused medicines from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce the chance that others accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medicine, and to help reduce drugs from entering the environment.” Where can you take these medications for proper disposal?
- Permanent collection sites for unused medication. These could be in retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, or law enforcement collection sites. Some of these locations also have medication drop-boxes so that you do not need to go there during work hours.
- Temporary collection sites. The US DEA sometimes hosts drug collection events.
- If you cannot dispose of medication at a disposal site, the FDA recommends removing household information from containers and mixing the medications with something unappetizing, such as used cat litter. Seal the container and place it into the trash. Doing this instead of throwing away the intact container will make it harder for people to access the medication.
- A few medications have directions on them that state that you can flush unused medications.
Taking these precautions will help avoid moving new medications into the community, and it can assist in the fight against opioid addiction.
What Happens If You Are Already Addicted?
Are you looking for treatment options in Ohio? Talk with us at The Recovery Village. We can help you access Ohio addiction treatment resources, and we will help you and your family as you work on recovery from opioid addiction or other addictions, including alcohol. Achieve sobriety in a supportive community; learn about admission today.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.