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Your Healthy Family: Using opiates properly is only first step in fighting epidemic

Posted: 8:08 AM, Apr 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-09 11:27:29-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – In our last story, we told you about UCHealth’s new patient awareness campaign located in their facilities across Colorado to fight the opioid crisis.  The campaign encourages patients to talk to the doctors about pain medications before they are prescribed as well as alternatives for treating pain.

Dr. David Steinbruner, MD, Medical Director of UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central says, “We put them for example, inside of the elevator so if that sign shows up and your staring at it, you will think to ask your doctor about opiates, ‘do I need them, how long might it take me before I become addicted to them?’, talk to your doctor about that.”

Another important message is to properly dispose of any left over pain medication or controlled substances to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Dr. Steinbruner adds, “One of the big problems we are having is drug diversion.  That happens when those medicines are in your cabinet, and maybe an enterprising teenager or somebody wants to get a hold of them.  Maybe those medicines are just sitting around and you think, ‘this pain pill work pretty well’, next thing you know they’re taking pain medicines inappropriately without a prescription.  It’s critical we close the loop on those extra medicines. We as doctors need to give less and realize the amount people really need. Then when you have extras you need to dispose of them properly.”

Mark your calendars for Saturday April 27th, it’s a DEA drug take back day.  These days are a great chance to spring-clean your medicine cabinet, and get rid of  more than just old pain killers.

Chris Martin in the Pharmacy Manager at UCHealth Memorial Hospital and explains, “Things like antibiotics or blood pressure medicines or anything you’re not using anymore.  You can throw away in household trash, just make sure you put it in a sealed container, mix it up with something that’s going to make it un usable like coffee grounds or kitty litter.  If it’s a controlled substance then you need to take it to an authorized collector. You can find a list of those on the DEA website for our area, or you can wait for these take back days.”

To find a list of drug take back locations, you can visit the DEA’s website HERE

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