Few Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine

As the nation grapples with the crisis of opioid abuse and misuse, a new survey by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime) finds many current tools aimed at combating the crisis may be underused.

Most survey respondents are concerned about the opioid crisis.

Overall, 87 percent said addiction to prescription painkillers is a serious problem and 72 percent said it is very serious.

Despite this awareness, only 17 percent had spoken with a medical professional about how to safely dispose of unused medicine, while only 11 percent had a conversation about what to do in the event of an overdose.

And while more than half of adults (51 percent) reported having taken opioids, just 1 in 4 opioid users had spoken with a medical professional about the potential for addiction after receiving an opioid prescription.

Regarding safe disposal, people taking opioids reported they may not know how to safely dispose of unused medications.

Nearly a quarter of adults keep unused opioids instead of disposing of them, and only 27 percent of those who dispose of old medicine use a take back program to safely dispose of controlled substances.

This behavior ensures that millions of the non-prescribed will be discovering, and using, opioids.

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