Prescription opioids carry serious risks if used improperly. There are many ways to help reduce the risk for opioid misuse and prevent an opioid-related overdose.
Awareness and education about the dangers of opioids are two of the best defenses against opioid misuse and overdose. No matter who you are — a loved one of someone who’s misusing opioids, a policymaker, a member of law enforcement, a healthcare provider, or a concerned citizen — we all have a role to play in the fight against the Virginia opioid crisis.
If you are prescribed opioids for pain, you can take action to make sure you are receiving the most effective pain treatment plan possible. Most important, do not share your prescription opioids with others, as they can have dangerous or even life-threatening effects on someone else.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips to help individuals manage and safely use their prescribed pain medications to avoid forming a dependency.
People who are prescribed opioids for pain might not need to take their entire prescription. Some people find that after surgery they don’t need even a single pill. Safely disposing of opioids and reducing access to them at all times are two of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent substance misuse. For parents and other role models especially, it is important to demonstrate safe medication practices.
Virginia is fortunate to have a strong network of community coalitions working to prevent substance misuse. The coalitions bring together a diversity of partners, including parents, educators, youths, healthcare providers, members of faith communities, first responders, business leaders, elected officials, and many others.
Together, coalition members bring about positive change by assessing the community’s needs; putting into place various ideas and ways to help people and the local environment; and evaluating the results of their activities.
Prevention efforts include coordinating education campaigns, hosting events including drug take-back days, establishing permanent prescription drug drop boxes, distributing lockboxes and deactivation kits, providing training on how and when to administer naloxone, and organizing community conversations.
Volunteering with a community coalition is a great way to join with others to make an impact. Check out the Community Coalitions of Virginia to connect with a coalition in your area.
Virginia's Community Services Boards offer programs throughout the state to people with or without insurance. Resources address behavioral health needs, including substance use treatment and recovery.Get Help