Opioid Abuse and the Importance of Medication Safety

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Medication safety and taking precautionary steps are extremely important to prevent adverse reactions, overdoses and death. Whether a patient is prescribed an opioid or a general antibiotic, they should follow general steps to ensure medication safety.

Medication Safety Steps

Patients should be aware that even the most harmless medications can come with adverse reactions if they’re used with other medications or if they’re not taken properly. To ensure safety and positive health outcomes, patients should take the following precautionary steps with all their medications:

  1. Speak with their pharmacist or physician about all the medications they are taking for possible adverse reactions. Patients should also include any prescription, over the counter medications and supplements they’re taking since some medications can come with negative side effects if used with other medications.
  2. Follow medication instructions completely, even if they feel better or don’t notice their symptoms anymore. Many times, patients start to feel better and stop taking their medications prior to being completely healed. Patients should speak with their pharmacist or physician if they feel their medication isn’t working or if they don’t want to take their medication anymore.
  3. Dispose of all leftover or expired medications properly. Medications should never be thrown away, saved for later use, or flushed down the toilet for environmental and public safety reasons. Instead, medications need to be dropped off in medication drop off bins – in either a pharmacy or police station. All Intermountain Community Pharmacies have either medication disposal bins or envelopes. Patients can simply go into any Intermountain Community Pharmacy and dispose of their medications – no questions asked.   

Patients need to be aware that while their medication may seem harmless, they need to practice safety precautions for themselves and their loved ones. If a patient isn’t sure about their medication or has questions about their health and medication, then they should speak with a healthcare provider. A pharmacist is a great resource for all medication questions. Patients can speak with any pharmacist – no appointment is necessary – to have all their medication questions and concerns addressed.

Learn More About Opioids and Other Prescription Medications

Do you have other questions about prescription medications?  Tune into KUTV Channel 2 on Tuesday, April 11th for Intermountain Healthcare pharmacist and other experts discussing this topic on Ask the Expert. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day with experts providing interviews during news and other broadcasts.

RELATED: Ask the Expert

If you have your own questions, our panel of experts will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #KUTVAsktheExpert.

For more information, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/asktheexpert.