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AMA Taskforce Releases Storage and Disposal Tips for Opioids

     

The American Medical Association’s Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse recently released a step-by-step guide for physicians and the public on the safe storage and disposal of opioids and other medications.

One of the main goals of the task force is to support the education and awareness of doctors, patients, policymakers, other key stakeholders on the risks of prescription medication, particularly opioids, that are often not taken as prescribed. As a member of the task force, APA worked alongside the AMA and other member organizations on this valuable resource.

Promote safe storage and disposal of opioids and all medications

The AMA Task Force’s guide to safe storage and disposal for opioids presents helpful, comprehensive tips that are easily understood by physicians and the lay public alike. It also includes resources to aid consumers in finding drug disposal locations near them, as well as links to other educational pages on medication storage and disposal.

More than 70% of people who use opioids for nonmedical reasons get them from family or friends. These medications should only be taken as directed by a physician. They can be extremely dangerous and even deadly if misused, meaning their safe storage and disposal is of paramount importance.

Keeping medication out of the reach of children may seem like common sense, but it is a safety step that cannot afford to be overlooked, especially where opioids are concerned. Opioids should be stored well out of reach of children, and preferably locked away to prevent anyone but the intended patient from taking them, accidentally or otherwise. Sharing opioids is dangerous and illegal and should not be done under any circumstance.

What APA is Doing for You

This blog post is part of an occasional series highlighting how APA advocates on your behalf to support the profession of psychiatry and put our interests before key policymakers.

Often, our unused or expired prescriptions are simply left to take up space in our medicine cabinets, presenting a potential risk for these medications to be abused. Many police stations now have “take back” or mail back programs, and medication drop boxes where unwanted or unused pills, liquids and other medications can be safely disposed. Additionally, some local pharmacies with secure drop boxes and DEA-authorized collection sites will also accept and dispose of medication safely.

APA will proudly continue to work alongside the AMA and other members of the Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse to educate and support physicians, lawmakers, and the public until the scourge of opioid addiction in our nation is ended.

To learn more about opioid disposal, and see the Task Force’s recommendations for safely storing and disposing of prescription drugs, visit ama-assn.org/opioids-disposal .

     

Post by Saul Levin M.D., M.P.A.

Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., FRCP-E, is APA's CEO and Medical Director. Read Dr. Levin's full biography

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