Know Your Meds, Lock Your Meds

The Basics

For an understand of what opioids are click here.

Dangerous Drug Interactions

It is important to know whether the medication you have been prescribed is an opioid. Individuals taking opioids can have negative interactions with other drugs being taken, specifically benzodiazepines and alcohol.

Benzodiazepines, including Xanax and Valium, often are prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. They slow down body functions. When benzodiazepines are combined with opioids, the risk of overdose drastically increases. This is because both types of medications suppress breathing. when mixed together, they may cause you to stop breathing entirely. Alcohol acts in a similar way, so be sure to restrict alcohol use while taking prescription opioids.

Another thing to know about your opioid prescription is the proper dosage. Talking to your doctor or pharmacist will help you know exactly when to take your medication and how much you should take. It is recommended that you should take the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time to reduce the chance of your body building a tolerance to the medication.

Prescription Misuse & Abuse

If you have an opioid prescription, it is important to take your medication exactly as prescribed and as directed by your doctor. Improperly using your own prescription is called “prescription misuse,” and when that prescription is for opioids, this practice can be very dangerous. Taking too many pills, taking your medication too frequently, and taking your medication for longer than prescribed all can be considered prescription misuse. Taking pills that are not prescribed to you or seeking prescriptions for fake conditions would be examples of prescription abuse. Misusing and abusing opioid prescriptions can lead to substance use disorder, as well as an increased risk of overdose.

Medicine lock box, bag, and secure pill box

Safely Storing Your Medications

Taking a prescription opioid puts you at risk for prescription theft. Prescription opioids are commonly abused. Safely storing you medications can prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. A great way to ensure that your prescriptions are secure is by placing them in locking medicine cabinets, small lock boxes, and portable lock bags or locking pill bottles. These can be purchased at some local pharmacies, large retailers including Amazon and Walmart, as well as independent online businesses such as Safer Lock Rx, LockMed and Cardinal Bag Supplies.