At this time, opioid overdoses throughout the country are drastically increasing. It seems as though once one effort is put into place to decrease these overdoses, a new opioid comes into popularity and the cycle continues.
For many, opioid abuse does not start in a stereotypical manner, meaning that one does not obtain prescription or illicit opioids with the sole intent of using them continuously. But, unfortunately, this becomes the reality for many, resulting in the development of an opiate addiction and, in some cases, experiencing an overdose.
Some individuals find themselves abusing opioids because they were prescribed them following a surgery or a medical procedure, while others begin experimenting with them because their peers are doing so. In some cases, individuals seek out these potent medications to help drown out any emotional distress they are suffering, while others might find some extra opioid medications in their loved one’s medicine cabinets and think they are acceptable to use from time to time.
However, if a problem with opioid abuse or an addiction to opioids develops, the outcome typically always includes the need for professional treatment. With the knowledge that having access to opioids can lead to this downward spiral of poor choices, bad health, and the possibility of death, it is imperative that those who are prescribed a supply of opioids for medical purposes are aware of how to be responsible with it in an effort to prevent and decrease the rise of prescription opioid overdoses nationwide.
Through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a twice-a-year program known as National Take-Back Day occurs in the spring and the fall, opening up the doors to local police stations for citizens in all states to safely and securely drop off any and all prescription medications they are no longer using or that have expired. This initiative in itself has taken thousands of pounds of prescription medications (including prescription opioids) off the streets and out of the hands of those who could have lost their lives from abusing them. However, it is not every day that this initiative is taking place. Therefore, Americans who possess a supply of prescription opioids specifically should always be abreast on how to store and dispose them on every other day of the year.
In places like South Carolina, including the greater Lancaster area, individuals are always able to recycle their medications throughout the state at any number of recycling centers. This is one of the best options available to the public in the sense that, if medications are expired or no longer being used, citizens are not handing them off to another family member who might need them, or putting them down the drain and having them seep into the area’s water supply. In addition, it is important to know that when prescription opioids are being used responsibly, it is imperative to keep them in a safe place where they cannot be accessed by others. This can include in a locked medicine cabinet, or even in a part of the home that no one else would frequent but the user. This precaution can reduce and eliminate the possibility that a friend, family member, a guest, etc. would be able to access these medications and perpetuate the problem of opioid overdoses further.
For more information and education on how you can prevent the continuation of opioid abuse and overdoses, visit the DEA’s official website.