Patient Education on Opioids Helps Reduce Opioid Use & Encourage Safe Disposal

Recent research shows that patients who receive education and counseling about the importance of safe disposal of opioid medications are associated with a higher likelihood of the patient properly disposing of their unused medications. That peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Pain Research also found “a clear need to increase patient awareness about the importance and methods of proper medication disposal, and a great opportunity for health care providers to increase patient education efforts.”  

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Federal Grant Program Encourages States to Increase Drug Take Back Efforts

Last fall, Congress passed the “Access to Increased Drug Disposal (AIDD) Act as part of a larger package of bills aimed at controlling the national opioid epidemic. AIDD allows states to compete for $10 million in federal grants designed to increase participation in safe medication disposal programs. Five states will be chosen to receive grant money to implement drug take back demonstration projects that encourage “authorized collectors,” such as hospitals and retail pharmacies, to increase public access to drug collection boxes.

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Veterinarians, Pet Medications, and the Opioid Crisis

Ninety-five percent of pet owners say they consider pets a part of the family, but there’s a darker side to some of those families. Sadly, as in so many human families, drug addiction is breaking the bonds of affection and trust. Veterinarians have reported cases where opioid addiction is leading pet owners to steal their pets’ medications or even injure their pets in an effort to get pain meds prescribed.

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New Laws and Prescription Guidelines Target Opioid Abuse Crisis

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concern that physicians were contributing to the opioid epidemic by over-prescribing the drugs. Recent evidence shows that doctors paid attention. In July, Blue Cross Blue Shield reported 2017 numbers showing fewer opioid prescriptions and an increase in new prescriptions meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s chronic pain prescription guidelines.
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Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse at Home

Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the United States. Opioids, depressants and stimulants are the most abused medications. According to the Los Angeles Times, the leading cause of death from unintentional injuries in the U.S. is drug-related poisonings, which has surpassed automobile accidents. Between 1999 and 2006, deaths from drug poisoning have almost doubled. The first step towards preventing drug abuse is proper medication disposal.

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