Three things you can do.
1. Speak up.
Chances of becoming a long-term user increase after just five days. Before you take an medication for pain, talk to your doctor or dentist about your risk of addiction.
Start the conversation.
You can take a more active role in your health care by knowing the benefits and dangers of these medications and asking questions when your doctor or dentist prescribes painkillers. Take a moment to get answers:
- Am I at risk for addiction?
- Could something else work?
- How long will I be taking them?
- Are you prescribing the lowest possible dose?
- What’s the plan to taper off the medication?
2. Opt out.
There might be other ways to treat your pain that are more effective with fewer risks and side effects.
Wyoming can break free
Most Wyomingites struggling with pain mediction addiction received their first prescription to treat a short-term injury or after surgery, but it’s possible to opt-out of taking the substances to manage pain.
There are treatments that might work better with fewer risks and side effects:
- A combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Physical therapy.
- Certain medications that are also used for depression or seizures.
- Interventional therapies (injections).
- Cognitive behavioral therapy.
3. Toss leftovers (safely).
Two-thirds of all misused medications come from prescriptions that are unused by friends and family. Keeping unused medications in your home can increase the risk of theft, so it’s crucial to dispose of unused or expired prescriptions immediately.
There’s no such thing as safe leftovers.
Getting rid of opioid medications minimizes the chance of someone misusing them, but don’t just flush them—it’s important to dispose of them properly to reduce their impact on the environment. The best way to get rid of medications in Laramie County is by dropping unused medication at the Public Safety Center (Police Department), located at 415 West 18th St, Cheyenne, WY 82001.
If you can’t access a take-back location or buy a mail-back envelope and have to dispose of medication at home, do so safely. Do not flush your medicine or give it to someone else to dispose of it for you. Instead, follow these steps:
- Remove medication from its original container (be sure you remove the label or cross out any identifying information).
- Mix the medication with something that can’t be eaten, like kitty litter, coffee grounds, sawdust, etc.
- Place the mixture in a resealable bag or other durable container that prevents leakage.
- Wrap the container in newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents.
- Place it in your trash the day your trash is collected.