Appropriate Use, Storage & Disposal

Using Prescription Opioid Medicines Appropriately

Following guidelines on appropriate use, storage, and disposal of your prescription pain medications is important. Prescription drug abuse is a serious public health issue.3 Remember, the person who was prescribed a prescription opioid medication isn’t always the only one who is at risk for abuse.


  • Take medications only as prescribed
  • Be aware of risks
  • Understand inappropriate use
  • Never give prescription medicines to anyone else


  • Hide or lock up opioid medications to avoid access by family, friends, or houseguests
  • Keep prescription medications in their original packaging so it is clear for whom the medications were prescribed and to save the directions for appropriate use


  • Opioids may be disposed of through community-sponsored take-back programs
  • If there are none available in your area, follow the Office of Drug Control National Policy recommendations for environmentally friendly disposal
  • Learn more about appropriate use, storage and disposal of prescription opioid medications.