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Prevent Opioid Misuse

If you are prescribed opioids for your pain, you have the following responsibilities to help ensure you are getting the safest, most effective pain management possible.

What You Can Do to Prevent Opioid Misuse

Photo: spilled prescription pill bottle
Work with Your Doctor
  • Work with your doctor to create a plan on how to manage your pain.
    • Know your options and consider ways to manage your pain that do not include opioids.
    • Talk to your doctor about any and all side effects and concerns.
    • Make the most informed decision with your doctor.
  • Follow up regularly with your doctor.
Take and Store Opioids Properly
  • Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
  • Never sell or share prescription opioids.
  • Store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends, and visitors).
  • If you have unused prescription opioids at the end of your treatment, find your community drug take-back program or your pharmacy mail-back program, or flush them down the toilet, following guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (
  • Don’t take opioids with alcohol and and other medications like:
    • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax® and Valium®)
    • Muscle relaxants (such as Soma® or Flexeril®)
    • Hypnotics (such as Ambien® or Lunesta®)
    • Other prescription opioids

Find Help and Treatment

If you or someone close to you needs help for a substance use disorder, talk to your doctor or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or go to SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

CDC's Rx Awareness Campaign

  • Prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous. It only takes a little to lose a lot. HHS/CDC
  • I was given a prescription opioid pain medication that lasted a lot longer than the pain itself. -Mike
  • It only takes a little to lose a lot. -Teresa
  • How can I be addicted? I get these from my doctor? - Brenda
  • You never expect you're going to lose a child. It's all out of order. -Judy
  • Our secrets keep us sick. -Devin

Learn more about the risks of opioids and the cost of opioid misuse and overdose on individuals and families at Rx Awareness.