Prevention Tips

Practice Safe Medication Use

Take medicines ONLY as prescribed.

  • Keep a current list of your medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and dietary/herbal supplements. Bring your up-to-date medicine list to all of your medical and pharmacy visits.
  • Keep opioids and all other medicines in a safe place, out of the reach of children. Keep your medicines in a secure, preferably locked place.
  • Never give away or share your medicines with others.
  • Never mix pain medicines with alcohol, sleeping pills, or any illicit substance.
  • Review your medicines every six months and properly dispose of all expired, unused or unwanted medicines as soon as possible.
  • Find the disposal location in your area.

Storage and Disposal Tips

  • Keep prescription painkillers in their original labeled containers out of sight and out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf.
  • Keep track of how many pills are left.
  • Having prescription painkillers in your home increases the risk that another person in your household might find them and misuse them, or take them accidentally.
  • Get rid of painkillers that you are no longer using safely. NEVER dispose by flushing down the toilet because it can harm the drinking water supply.

Medication Take Back Programs

Watch a short video about how dependency or addiction can happen.

Signs of dependency or addiction:

  • Craving – The mind develops an overwhelming desire for the drug.
  • Loss of control – It becomes harder to say no to using the drug.
  • Use is compulsive and continues when it causes harm.

Overdose Risks

Accidental overdose can happen if you are taking prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl or mixing more than one drug, including alcohol. Opioids can cause bad reactions that make your breathing slow or even stop. Learn how to get and use Narcan to help save someone from an overdose death.

  • Anyone of any age who uses opioid medications to manage pain, particularly those taking higher doses.
  • Anyone who takes opioids with multiple prescriptions or other sedating substances, including alcohol, anti-anxiety, sleeping aids or muscle relaxants.
  • Household members of people who are in possession of opioids.
  • Anyone who uses heroin or Fentanyl.
  • People with reduced tolerance following detox or release from incarceration when the risk within the first two weeks of release is 74 times higher.
  • Someone who has had a previous non-fatal overdose.

Don’t Mix Drugs and Alcohol – Learn About Fentanyl

  • Many overdose deaths involve using and mixing multiple drugs. This is very dangerous and might mean the person may have a problem with polysubstance misuse. Often, an individual may use different drugs and alcohol to lessen reactions of another drug. Never mix pain medicines with alcohol, sleeping pills, or any illicit substance.
  • Illicit Fentanyl is now found in many substances, including pills, and there are dramatic increases in accidental overdose deaths.