Preventing misuse of prescription opioids (pain medicine or painkillers)

Prescription opioids are a type of medicine often given to relieve pain. They include oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®, Lortab®), codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.

These drugs can sometimes reduce pain, but they also have risks and side effects. The risks increase with longer use and higher doses. Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them.

Prescription drug misuse means taking a medicine in a way or dose that has not been prescribed. This includes taking someone else’s prescription or taking a medicine to feel “high.”

What can I do to prevent opioid (pain medicine or painkiller) misuse?

You can help protect your family, friends, and community from the dangers of prescription opioid misuse.

  1. Store medicine safely and securely.
  2. Dispose of prescription opioids.
  3. Monitor opioid use.
  4. Talk to healthcare providers about your medicines.
  5. Talk to older adults about opioids.
  6. Talk to children about opioids.