Why Safe Disposal of Your Painkillers Matters

February 26, 2021

It’s common to open your medicine cabinet one day and realize how many prescription bottles sit unused or expired on the shelves. Many people will leave their prescription medications lying around long after they’ve finished using them, but this isn’t always safe for them or loved ones – especially if the prescription drug contains opioids.

One of the main reasons why it’s recommended that you dispose of your opioid painkillers when you no longer need them is because opioids are addictive enough for individuals to develop a dependency on them within just days of use. In fact, the FDA reported that prescription opioid misuse is one of the most common types of illegal drug use in the United States. Though we tend to associate illegal drug use with needles and bottles purchased off the street, many people who’ve developed opioid addictions said they got theirs from a friend or relative – medicine cabinets included.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain by interacting with opioid receptors to dull your perception of pain while also producing pleasurable feelings. Doctors typically prescribe them to treat pain related to injuries, surgeries, or cancers – acute pain that doesn’t require long-term drug use.

Popular opioid painkillers like Vicodin (hydrocodone) and OxyContin (oxycodone) can produce euphoric feelings that are so powerful that users may feel tempted to take more than the prescribed amount so they can continue experiencing these feelings. However, once a person has developed a tolerance to the drug, they may find that they have to take even more to get the same pleasure, which leads to addiction.

While addiction is serious on its own and can lead to instability in relationships, work, and other areas of your life, it can also result in an overdose and even death. High doses of opioids slow down your heart rate and breathing, and people who take a lot of opioids to get high might not realize they took too much until it’s too late.

How to Safely Dispose of Opioids

If you no longer have use for your opioid painkillers, it’s strongly recommended by the FDA that you safely dispose of them. Not only are you decreasing your own risk of developing an opioid addiction, but you are also removing the likelihood of a loved one like a spouse or child finding your medicine and abusing it, too.

It’s important to ask yourself the following questions to determine the best way to dispose of your medication properly:

  • Is there a take-back option available? Some U.S. DEA facilities and businesses are available to collect unused or expired medications for disposal. Known as take-back locations, these facilities can be found via DEA’s website. All you have to do is remove your personal information from the bottle label and drop it off.
  • Is your medication on the flush list? If for whatever reason you’re not close to a take-back facility, you may be able to check FDA’s flush list to determine if you can safely flush your medicine down your toilet to make sure your medication isn’t misused. The flush list contains many drugs that are known for being misused, which is why you can find most opioid medications on it.

By going through the motions to dispose of your opioid painkillers, you may be saving your life or the lives of your loved ones. If, however, you are already addicted to your medication or someone you know is addicted, now is the time to seek professional help. There is no shame in admitting that you need help for a painkiller addiction. By getting assistance from a facility like October Road, you could save yourself from an overdose.

Outpatient Treatment in North Carolina

If you’re located in Charlotte, Asheville, or the surrounding areas in North Carolina and need help for your opioid addiction or some other drug addiction, you can turn to October Road for compassionate and holistic treatment. Our team understands that addiction can start off small before it gradually becomes more serious and that it’s usually a coping mechanism. This is why our drug addiction treatments work to treat all aspects of your health – not just your addiction.

Our drug rehab programs involve a variety of treatments, from medication management and therapy to peer support services and more. As an outpatient facility, we strive to meet you where you are and tailor our program to your specific needs and experiences.

Call October Road today if you’re looking for the in-depth care and intimacy that only a small facility can provide at (888) 201-5086 or reach out via our online form. When you join us, you can expect to get help from our industry’s top experts.