What happens to the Unused Opioids in The Medicine Cabinet?

Injuries from using a skateboard are one of the leading causes of children going to emergency rooms and receiving opioids for pain.  According to findings from The National Health Statistics Report on Emergency Department Visits for Youth & Young Adults, released November 15, 2019:

  • Children 10 to 14 received opioids in one of 5 visits.
  • Kids 15-19 were given opioids in one of four visits.
  • Youth, aged 20-24 received prescription pain meds. at nearly 1 in every 2 visits – 46% of visits for sports injuries.

Dental work and other sports injuries like football also yield opiate prescriptions.  What becomes of these unused prescriptions?  They are usually kept in medicine cabinets, unlocked, and in common sight.

Says, Dr. Mina “Mike” Kalifas, an addiction specialist in North Kentucky, we don’t want our child to be in pain, but we have to be diligent.”

Pills aren’t any different liquid pain medication, except maybe in the dosage.  Taking prescription opioids puts you at risk for dependence (defined as causing withdrawal symptoms when stopping) and continued use can lead to addiction. As soon as the prescription expires, throw out the medications!

Not everyone who is initially prescribed opioids will end up with a substance abuse disorder, but many have.  Dr. Mina warns that patients and/or should be  screened for their potential of misusing opioids.

The pharmaceutical companies, the reps., the doctors are blamed for pushing opioids, but who is watching the medicine cabinet filled with opioids?

If you watch “Law and Order,” and believe its story line, the teens are robbing their parents’ medicine cabinets, pooling their drugs into a large bowl for “pharma parties.”  Or they are selling them on the street, if not in school.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.