In 2019, 83 percent of drug overdose deaths in Idaho were accidental. There are many ways to prevent opioid overdoses. Here are some ways to help:
Every patient should ask questions when getting a new prescription. This is especially important when a doctor, dentist or other health care professional prescribes an opioid such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and morphine.
If you are taking opioids, ask your doctor about co-prescribing naloxone. Anyone with a valid reason may receive naloxone, even if it is not intended for your own use.
Questions to ask your health care provider if you are prescribed pain medication include:
- How long should I expect to have pain?
- Can I use over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Aleve)?
- What other things can I do to help control my pain? (Ice, rest, elevate, exercise, lifting or activity restrictions)
- Who do I call if my pain is not controlled, getting worse or I am having side effects from opioids?
- Can I have fewer opioid pills because I have small children or teenagers in the house?
- Could I be a candidate for a nerve block, local anesthetic catheter or an epidural as an opioid sparing option?
(Source: Michigan OPEN)
Talk to your doctor about other options to manage your pain. Some options may have fewer side effects and risks.
Examples of alternative pain treatment are:
- Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen (Advil®), or naproxen (Aleve®)
- Physical therapy
- Acupuncture or massages
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Reduce the risk of opioid misuse by properly storing and disposing of your pain medications. Help keep your loved ones safe.
Store opioids out of the reach of children, teens, friends, and visitors. Do not keep medications in places that are easy to get to, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If possible, lock your medications and try to keep count of how many pills you have.
Visit Up and Away and Out of Sight to learn more about how to keep your child safe by putting your medicines up, away, and out of sight.
Dispose of any unused opioids through local drop boxes at your police department, sheriff’s office or at some pharmacies. A National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held each fall and spring at locations around Idaho.
If you do not have a local drop box, follow these FDA guidelines on disposing unused or expired medications.