NDSU Extension - Sargent County

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What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?

What’s In Your Medicine Cabinet?The leading cause of accidental death in the United States is drug overdose, and opioids are the most common drug.

Opioids are a class of narcotic substances that includes both legal (prescription) medications and illegal drugs.  Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine are among the most common prescription opioids.  They are prescribed to treat severe pain.

Heroin is an example of an illegal opioid.

The intended use of prescription opioids is to decrease the patient’s perception of pain.  They can be used safely under the direction of a physician, but it is imperative that the patient be aware of the risks in order to keep themselves and their family safe.

Prescription opioids should only be used under the guidance of a medical professional. If you have a prescription for an opioid, do not share the medication with anyone else. Taking a medication that has not been prescribed for you is drug misuse because you are taking a controlled medication that was not prescribed for you. It is not only dangerous to do so, by Federal Law it is also illegal to share a controlled substance with someone else.

Drug misuse is defined as the use of controlled medications either without a prescription or for a reason other than what was prescribed, taking higher dose of a controlled medication, or taking it more often or for a longer time than prescribed.  Prescription opioid misuse and abuse occurs in both urban and rural areas, regardless of age, gender, economic status, and social status. 

The majority of misused prescription drugs are obtained from a family member or friend.  For that reason, it is important to properly dispose of unused or old medications.

Action steps to prevent opioid misuse:

-          Only take prescription opioid medications that were prescribed to you

-          Follow the directions precisely/strictly when taking your prescribed opioid medications

-          Keep the medications in a locked cabinet, away from children

-          Do not share your medication with anyone else for any reason

-          Take old or unused medications to an authorized disposal location.

The Sheriff’s departments in Sargent and Ransom counties are take back sites for disposal of controlled substances such as opioids.  Forman Drug has a take-back program and the Gwinner Telepharmacy has a secure take-back box.  At this time, both the Forman pharmacy and the Gwinner telepharmacy are able to take back (accept) prescription medications, but not opioids and other controlled substances.

Other take-back and MedSafe sites in North Dakota are listed on the ND Attorney General’s webpage at  https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/public-safety/take-back-program/take-back-program-locations

Source:  Strengthening the Heartland Newsletter, Spring 2019.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/headache-pain-pills-medication-1540220/ (downloaded 5/21/19)


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