How to Safely Manage Opioid Pain Killers
The CDC says that there is currently an opioid epidemic, citing a quadrupled increase in opioid related overdose deaths. While opioids are an effective way to treat pain following oral surgery, we want our patients and fellow physicians to be aware of the complexity surrounding opioid use as well as how to use and prescribe them safely.
What Patients Can Do:
Opioids are highly addictive, which means that it’s critical for you to follow your doctor’s directions while using them. Use your prescribed medication only as long as you need it to treat your pain. Common non-prescription medications such as ibuprofen can be highly effective and carry much less risk.
The overwhelming increase in opioids reaching the streets is a danger to communities around the country, but there is something you can do! When you are done with your prescription, take your remaining pills to your local drug disposal kiosk at your pharmacy. This will make a big difference in helping to make sure that these drugs are used for their intended medical purpose alone.
Talk to your doctor about precautions you can take to use these medications safely, or about any concerns you may have. Keeping unused pills out of your home helps to ensure that they do not get used for unsafe purposes down the road.
Need Immediate Help? Call the opioid addiction helpline at (888) 537-4947!
What Doctors Can Do:
Research at the University of Pennsylvania has found that by day two following surgery, most patients report 0-3/10 pain levels and 80% report low pain by day five. More than 90% of patients did not have complications during surgery and most patients only ended up using less than half of their given pills.
Help keep drugs off the streets by informing your patients of the importance of drug disposal, and prescribe only the necessary amount of pills. Together we can keep millions of opioid pills off the streets.
These medications are used safely and effectively all the time, and together we can make sure that they are only used that way in the future!