How to Use Opioid Medicines Safely?

What are opioids?

Opioids are a kind of medicine utilized for relieving pain. They’re also called as narcotics prescribed by the doctor to manage acute and chronic pain. Opioids are most likely suggested by your doctor to considerably reduce the ache after you had a major surgery or injury.

Opioids are commonly safe when consumed for a short duration as guided by the doctor. Opioids, if abused or taken incorrectly, can cause overdose and even death. People who consume opioids are at high risk for getting addicted to opioid medicine, creating dependence on this medicine and overdose.

Here’s a safety checklist for taking opioid medicine


  • Take your medicines as prescribed by your doctor

  • Read the medication guide carefully before taking the medicine

  • If you miss any dose, do not double your dose or take it without consulting your doctor

  • Avoid indulging in any physical activity like driving or using any machinery when you start taking the medicine

  • Get in touch with your doctor, if you experience side effects

  • If possible, take medicines from the same pharmacy every time

  • Watch out for signs of over medication and ask your loved ones to look for those signs

  • It is best to tell your doctors and medicine providers about all the drugs you’re taking. This is to prevent any kind of drug interaction, allergy or side effects


  • One should not share opioid medicines with anyone

  • Do not consume opioid with alcohol or combine them with any drugs

  • Do not cut, chew, or dissolve opioid medicine

  • Do not miss the instructions given by your doctor at the time of taking a dose

  • Do not change the dosage of your medicine. If you want to, talk to your doctor

  • Do not take medicines on your own, unless it was prescribed for you

  • Do not take opioid medicine if you’re pregnant or planning to be

Before starting opioids medicine: 

Opioids aren’t safe for everybody. Before starting them, discuss about your medical history, family history and personal history of substance use with your doctor.

If you suffer sleep apnea, obesity, anxiety or depression or fibromyalgia taking opioid medications could have serious side effects. 

While taking opioids medicine:

  • Follow all the instructions given by your doctor

  • Keep in check the date when you’re starting the medicine

  • Keep a count on dosage, do not miss or overdose

  • Check on the number of refills

  • Read the instructions for use carefully

How to safely store and dispose opioid medicine?

Proper storage and disposal of opioid medicine is of utmost importance:

  • Store your medicine in a safe place inside a locked cabinet, a box or a container where others can’t access it

  • Keep the medicine away from the reach of children. Even one dose of opioid drug is given for an adult individual can lead to a critical overdose in a kid.

  • Do not disclose about opioid medicine to people visiting your house. Someone might try to steal it to intake or market them

  • Carry your present bottle of opioid medicine with you while travelling

  • Please take a note of when and how much medicine you take in order to keep a track on how much is left

  • Find a proper way to dispose your unused opioid medicine. For example, your local pharmacy could have a take-back program

  • There are also certain authorized sites that collects unused medicine

  • You can also flush them down the toilet however, it is only recommended to follow FDA guidelines before doing so.

  • You can also ask your family doctor about more information regarding safe disposal

Never stop taking opioids on your own, it can cause serious health consequences. Consult your physician to guide you get off the medicine safely.