What happens to opioid medications once they are in patients’ medicine cabinets? A recently published research letter examined sharing, storage, and disposal of opioid medications among nearly 3,300 respondents who had received an opioid prescription. About 21% reported sharing their medication with another person, primarily to help the other person manage pain. More than half of respondents reported they had leftover medication, of which 60% reported keeping the medication for future use. Nearly half did not recall receiving information on safe storage or disposal of opioids. The authors recommended reducing the prescribed quantity of opioids and improving education about storage and disposal (JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 13, 2016. DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2543).
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