What are four things that can be done to address the opioid epidemic?

The list of activities requires to stop or slow down the opioid epidemic is long but every patient and family member has a role to play. Presented here are four steps that every individual who is prescribed an opiate can take to limit the spread of opioid misuse and abuse.

1) Monitoring — Every patient and family member should be instructed on the importance of taking the medication as directed and to try alternative pain management techniques first to reduce the risk of abuse and addiction. It is important to instruct individuals to keep a record of when they take their prescribed opioid medication.

2) Securing –When prescribed, individuals and families should discuss a secure storage location.

3) Transitioning — learning how to taper off opioids and/or to use non-opioid measures for pain control such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or fixed tapering schedules.

4) Disposal — educating patients and caregivers on proper medication disposal will help reduce prescription opioid diversion and accidental overdose.

Together, these areas (monitoring, securing, transitioning and disposing of opiates) will serve as a road-map for ongoing education and awareness initiatives surrounding the opioid epidemic.

Access “The Opioid Epidemic: Improving Opioid Safety for Patients Through Prescriber, Patient, & Family Education” at: https://pcssnow.org/event/opioid-epidemic-improving-opioid-safety-patients-prescriber-patient-family-education/

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