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AMA Urges Doctors to Talk About Safe Opioid Storage, Disposal

Last Updated: April 28, 2017.

Physicians should take three essential steps to reduce the amount of unwanted, unused, and expired medications in an effort to avoid non-medical uses for the drugs, according to a new recommendation from the American Medical Association Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse.

FRIDAY, April 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians should take three essential steps to reduce the amount of unwanted, unused, and expired medications in an effort to avoid non-medical uses of the drugs, according to a new recommendation from the American Medical Association (AMA) Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse.

The task force is composed of representatives from more than 25 state, specialty, and other health care professional organizations. Its new three-step recommendation is available as a flier and comes in light of the fact that more than 70 percent of people who use opioid analgesics for nonmedical reasons receive them from friends or family members, according to an AMA news release.

The first recommended step is to talk with patients and emphasize that opioid analgesics should be used only as directed by the intended person. The second step is to remind patients to safely store their medications, as intentional or unintentional use by others in the household could lead to an overdose. The last step is to urge patients to dispose of unused medications. The task force notes that patients should be educated on how to do so safely.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 29. The annual event provides numerous safe, convenient, and authorized ways to dispose of prescription drugs to prevent misuse.

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