A new study has found that opioid addiction may start in the family medicine cabinet. According to research conducted by a postgraduate fellow of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, while the 1% risk is small, taken in context with the number of opioids that are increasingly being prescribed across the nation, you've got a good number of households with pain killers in their cabinets. Having the pain killers close to the hands of other family members could increase the risk of opioid addiction. In most cases, opioids aren't needed to treat mild pain. For example, offering Vicodin to ease a mild headache when Ibuprofen would have sufficed. In addition, a spokesman for the American Society of Addiction Medicine stated family members have also been known to sell or use these drugs.
How Do I Avoid This Problem?
Keep in mind that doctors have been known to over-prescribe pain medication. If possible, attempt to ease pain symptoms using less dangerous treatments before accepting a doctor's prescription. Minor pain can be treated with Tylenol or Aspirin. However, if you do need to take prescription opioids, make sure they are not easily accessible. Instead of keeping your medication in the medicine cabinet, store it in a location that only you are aware of and can access.
After your pain symptoms have passed and you no longer need your pain medication, do not keep it. To avoid children, teens, or even adults discovering the location of your prescription, it would be best to discard your medication appropriately. Do not throw it away or flush it down the drain. Most pharmacies offer a drug disposal program and you can drop off your unused medication for disposal. This way you might be able to lessen the risk of opioid addiction in your household.