It starts with one. You can make a difference in preventing prescription opioid misuse

Prescription drug misuse is among the fastest growing drug problem in the United States and the vast majority of this misuse is due to prescription opioids. Opioids can negatively affect the reward center in the brain, leading users to need more and more over time and as a result these drugs can be highly addictive. Beneficial when used according to a doctor’s instructions, opioid pain medications should be taken only by the person for whom a doctor has prescribed them. People should never share or take a prescription prescribed for someone else. It’s dangerous and illegal.

Wondering what you can do to prevent medication misuse, abuse and accidental poisonings in your community? By having honest conversations with family and friends and taking simple, yet vital steps to safeguard your medications and protect your loved ones. Take the next step. Implement a plan for safe storage and disposal of the medication in your home. Being aware of the location of medications in your home makes a difference. These strategies make your home safer for children, pets and the environment. Take a look around. What are you doing to safeguard your medications?

Your Checklist: Simple, yet vital steps to safeguard your medications and loved ones

Store medications safely by keeping them out of reach – lock them in a drawer or cabinet or a medicine lock box.

Properly dispose of unused and expired medications at a free take-back site near you. Find a take-back site anywhere in Washington State at

Talk to your doctor about other ways to manage pain.

Ask your pharmacist to fill prescriptions partially.

Never share or take a prescription that wasn’t prescribed for you. It’s dangerous and illegal.

Have conversations with friends and family about the dangers of opioids and the risks of misusing prescription drugs.

Talking to your friends and family about the risks and dangers associated with opioids and prescription drug misuse can be tough, but it may be the most important thing you do. Learn more at

* It Starts with One campaign is funded by Washington State Health Care Authority.

Article Provided by:
Community Prevention Project Specialist