Falling medication

Submitted by: Laura Anderson, Assistant Director of the Behavioral Health Division, ND Department of Human Services

We have all heard about the opioid crisis and the impact it is having on our family, friends, businesses and communities. Every aspect of the opioid crisis requires great care. From understanding the risks and benefits of pain medications to knowing the signs of addiction, to recognizing an overdose and knowing how to help – there are ways all of us can care for each other and ourselves. Almost half (47.2%) of individuals age 12 and older who reported misusing pain relievers in the past year identified they were given, bought or took the pain relievers from a friend or relative. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2020)

“When individuals are prescribed opioids, there are strategies that can reduce the likelihood of misuse for themselves and those around them,” said Laura Anderson, assistant director of the Behavioral Health Division. “The North Dakota Department of Human Services works with multiple partners at the state and local level to address access to unused and unwanted opioids with the purpose of reducing opioid addiction and opioid overdose deaths.”

The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office launched the Take Back program in December 2009. The Take Back program at local law enforcement agencies throughout the state offers an opportunity for individuals to dispose of unused and unwanted medications year-round, 24/7.

The Take Back program expanded to community pharmacies, supported by the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy, allowing another point of access for the public to dispose of unused and unwanted medications.

When individuals are prescribed opioids, there are three key strategies to remember:

  1. LOCK: Keep medication out of sight and in a safe and secure place.
  2. MONITOR: Keep track of medication and take only as directed, never sharing the medication.
  3. TAKE BACK: Find local Take Back locations here: www.takeback.nd.gov. If a Take Back program is not available, medications can be placed in an opaque container mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter and thrown in the garbage.

Access information and resources on statewide and community efforts.

Avoid Opioid SDDispose of medications safely

Opioid deaths in South Dakota have increased steadily since 2012. The Avoid Opioid SD website is full of valuable testimonials, data, and resources to help prevent opioid misuse and addiction.

Health care professionals can encourage proper storage and disposal of medication by promoting these FREE resources for South Dakotans.

Source: Great Plains QIN Q Insider Publication March 2022