With opioid-involved deaths quadrupling since 1999, it is clear that opioid prescriptions are becoming a problem of epidemic proportions. Nonetheless, physicians continue to recommend opioid prescriptions for certain patients.
If a doctor prescribes one of these drugs for you, how can you ensure that you use it safely?
Using Opioids Correctly
The Purpose of Opioid Prescriptions
Opioids work on the nervous system to impair the functionality of pain receptors. They can be enormously beneficial when used within prescribed limits.
The trouble is that too many doctors have become overly reliant on opioid prescriptions. This leads patients to become addicted, and they may even switch to an illegal opioid, heroin, when it gets tougher to get the prescribed drug or when the prescription just isn’t enough anymore.
Keep the Duration Short
It’s never advised to take any medication contrary to the instructions of a doctor. Opioid prescriptions are no exception. They should be taken in precisely the amount the doctor recommends.
Also, these powerful drugs should typically only be used for one week or less. Anything longer risks dependency. If painkillers are still needed when the opioid prescriptions run out, then it’s better to ask for a non-opioid prescription.
Make Your Supply Secure
Sometimes it’s not the patient that dangerously misuses opioid prescriptions. A friend or family member who can gain access to the drug may steal some of it for their own use. Alternatively, a small child could mistake the pills for candy or something else that’s appropriate for them. Consider getting a lockbox to store prescription medications to prevent this from happening.
Don’t be tempted to recycle the information that comes with opioid prescriptions. Thoroughly review it and keep it in case you have any follow-up questions. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact your physician or pharmacist immediately.
ARCpoint Labs of Independence, MO provides prescription drug testing and monitoring services for individuals and medical professionals. To learn more about our services related to opioid prescriptions, call (816) 379-3197.