Get rid of leftover medicine, safely
It's important to dispose of leftover medicine the right way:
If you are already using prescription opioids to manage pain, there are safe ways to taper off of them and switch to safer, equally effective treatment.
- Tapering Off Opioids: When and How
- Pocket Guide: Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain
- How to Get Off Pain Pills: Tips for Quitting and Long-Term Recovery
Learn more about Oregon's guidelines for safe opioid prescribing.
If you are experiencing severe pain, you may be able to get a recommendation for medical marijuana from your doctor.
Many pain management options are covered by the Oregon Health Plan as well as private insurance.
If you're planning for an upcoming surgery or recovering from a recent injury, call your insurance company or Coordinated Care Organization to learn more about treatments and providers that are covered by your plan.
Resources for health care providers
If you are a health care provider interested in learning more about safe pain management options in Oregon, we can help.
- Oregon Pain Management Commission - Resources for Providers
- Pain Care Toolbox for Providers - Oregon Pain Management Commission
- Pain Training for Providers - Oregon Pain Management Commission
- Pain Education Toolkit for Patients - Oregon Pain Guidance
- Oregon Health Authority Prescribing Guidelines and Resources for Health Care Professionals
These powerful drugs should be a last resort for managing pain.
Recent studies have shown:
- Ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Advil R and Tylenol R) are just as effective at reducing pain as prescription opioids for some surgeries. 1
- One of the main ways people become physically dependent on opioids is by taking opioid painkillers for common injuries and surgeries. 2
- People get used to opioid painkillers quickly. This means they need to take higher and stronger doses to get the same effect—often leading to physical dependency in just a few days. 3
- Taking prescription opioids for pain management may lead wounds to heal more slowly. 4
- Although opioid painkillers cause drowsiness, they also disrupt the body's REM cycles and prevent deep sleep. For some people, this interference with sleep actually makes pain worse overall. 5
- Ilyas, A.M. , Miller, A.J., Martin, D., Matzon, J. L. (2018) Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: A Prospective Randomized Controlled Double-Blinded Trial Comparing Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Oxycodone after Hand Surgery. Retrieved from http://aaos-annualmeeting-presskit.org/2018/research-news/opioid/
- Butler, M. M., Ancona, R. M., Beauchamp, G. A., Yamin, C. K., Winstanley, E. L., Hart, K. W., Ruffner, A. H., Ryan, S. W., Ryan, R. J., Lindsell, C. J., … Lyons, M. S. (2016). Emergency Department Prescription Opioids as an Initial Exposure Preceding Addiction. Annals of emergency medicine, 68(2), 202-8.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (August 28, 2017). Opioid Overdose: Commonly Used Terms. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/terms.html
- Shanmugam VK, Couch KS, McNish S, Amdur RL. Relationship between Opioid Treatment and Rate of Healing in Chronic Wounds. Wound repair and regeneration: official publication of the Wound Healing Society [and] the European Tissue Repair Society. 2017;25(1):120-130. doi:10.1111/ wrr.12496.
- Jason T. Moore, Max B. Kelz; Opiates, Sleep, and Pain: The Adenosinergic Link. Anesthesiology 2009;111(6):1175-1176. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181bdfa2e.