Our latest research shows the importance of educating people with opioid prescriptions about the risks of having these medications in their home. We linked several Oregon datasets to study the impact of household opioid prescription availability on an individual’s odds of opioid overdose. What we found was that the odds of overdose increased significantly — 60% — when another household member had a recent opioid fill.
Even though the rate of opioid prescribing has decreased in recent years, the number of deaths involving prescription opioids remains high. Prescription opioids are a common entry point into problematic opioid use; many people who seek treatment for opioid use disorder report they started with taking prescription opioids. Approximately half of opioids prescribed after surgery or to people receiving outpatient cancer treatment go unused and may then be used by others in the home.
It is clear there is still work to be done to help patients learn about safely storing and disposing of their opioid medications.
Read the paper at JAMA Network Open: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2802559.