Opioid Safety

Opioid Safety Protocol For The Home

While opioids are an effective option for pain relief following surgery or for the treatment of a chronic condition, they can also lead to addictive behavior and substance abuse problems in adolescents if not properly managed and stored. 

Because of the particular challenges posed by the cognitive and developmental changes that mark adolescence, Nationwide Children’s is dedicated to providing education and resources to help patients, parents, and physicians safely prescribe, use, and dispose of opioids.

What are Opioids?

Opioids (OH-pee-awids) is an all-inclusive term that refers to the group of pain control medicines. These are prescribed by a doctor specifically for each patient’s need.

There are many types of opioids, including these brand names: 

• Hydrocodone (hi dro CO done)
• Oxycodone (oxy CO done)
• Morphine (MOR feen)
• Hydromorphone (hi dro MOR fone)
• Fentanyl (FIN tin il)
• Methadone (METH a done)
• Buprenorphine (bu PRENOR feen)
• Codeine (CO deen)
• Meperidine (me PER i deen)
• Propoxyphene (pro POXY feen)
• Percocet® (PER co cet) 
• Norco® (NOR co)
• Vicodin® (VI co din)
• Dilaudid® (di LAU did)
• Suboxone® (sub OX own)
• Subutex® (SUB u tex)
• Darvocet®(DAR vo set)
• Demerol® (DIM er ol)

Opioids work best when used with other non-medicine treatments for pain, in combination with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Some of these are exercise, massage, heat, ice, relaxation techniques, deep breathing, and distraction.

Four Points to Remember When Taking Opioids

  1. Monitor: Know where the medications are at all times. Keep a count of how many you have and be on the lookout for “Seekers”.
  2. Secure: Keep this medicine in a locked cabinet or lock box AND out of the reach of children.
  3. Transition: Get your child on the combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen and off the opioid medicine as soon as you can. This will make it less likely your child’s body will become dependent on opioids. It is especially important for acute pain.
  4. Disposal: Be sure to dispose of unused medicines properly, as soon as your child’s provider tells you it is time to do so. Opioids and other medicines should be disposed of when they are no longer needed.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has created safe and secure drop box locations to appropriately dispose of any unused or expired pain reliever medications.

To find a location near you, visit the Rx Drug Drop Box website.

Important Things to Know When Taking Opioids

Treating Pain After Surgery

Four Steps for Safe Opioid Usage

If you have an emergency concern about your child’s prescription pain medication, please call 1 (800) 222-1222.

For more information and other questions regarding the safe use and disposal of opiates, please contact the Medication Assisted Treatment for Addiction (MATA) Program at (614) 355-8614.