If you think someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately. Learn more about the signs of overdose.

Preventing Opioid Misuse

Awareness and education 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 — you have a role to play in curbing the Virginia opioid crisis.

Smart Practices

Addiction can happen to anyone. If you are prescribed opioids for pain, read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips on how to safely use and manage your prescriptions to avoid forming a dependency.

  • Never take your medications in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
  • Don’t take opioids with alcohol or other medications, including:
    • Benzodiazepines
    • Muscle relaxants
    • Hypnotics
    • Other prescription opioids
  • Know the names of your medications and let your healthcare provider know what you are taking and how often.
  • Work with your doctor, other prescriber, or pharmacist to create a safe plan for managing your pain. Talk to your doctor about any and all side effects and concerns.
  • Follow up regularly with your doctor.
  • Know your options for alternative pain treatment.
  • Store your prescription medications in a safe place to reduce access. Lock them in a cabinet, drawer, or medicine safe out of the reach of children, pets, and anyone who may be at risk of drug misuse. Count your prescription pills regularly to verify that you have been taking them as prescribed — and that no one else has removed any.
  • Dispose of unused prescription medications safely. Learn how to dispose of prescription drugs at drug take-back locations and at home.

Community Coalitions

Virginia has a strong network of community coalitions working to prevent substance misuse. Coalition members bring about positive change by assessing the community’s needs. Prevention efforts include advocating for local prevention programs, coordinating education campaigns, hosting events such as drug take-back days, establishing prescription drug drop boxes, distributing lockboxes and drug deactivation kits, providing training on when and how to administer naloxone, and organizing community conversations.

If you’re interested in joining a community coalition, you can apply to become a member. Another way to support community coalitions is by making a donation.

Virginia Community Services Boards

With resources to understand and treat mental health challenges, including substance misuse, Virginia’s Community Services Boards are here to provide the support you need.

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