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Safe Storage and Disposal of Opioid Prescriptions

"More than 11,200 calls concerning children's exposure to buprenorphine, an opioid medication used to treat opioid use disorder, were made to US poison control centers from 2007 to 2016."

“Even in children under 6 years old, opioids now account for the majority of drug poisonings.” (Pediatrics)

Safe Storage

  1. Keep prescription medicines in a secure place
  2. Count and monitor the number of pills you have
  3. Lock up your medications
  4. Do not share your medication
  5. Ask your friends and family members to do the same

Safe Disposal

  1. Bring your unused and/or expired prescription pills to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sponsored Prescription Drug Take Back Day in a community near you
  2. In Massachusetts, find a waste medication kiosk near you
  3. Throw away safely (FDA):
    • Remove the pills from the container and put in a baggy mixed with a little water or soda to dissolve the pills and then add other trash - cat litter, coffee grounds, etc.
    • Throw the baggy away
    • Remove all personal identifying information from your pill bottle
    • Throw the bottle away, hidden among other trash
  4. Do not flush pills unless the information sheet that came with your medication tells you to

Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is in need of addiction treatment:

Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline: 800-327-5050

SAMHSA's National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) / TTY: 1-800-487-4889
24-hour free and confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders/prevention and recovery in English and Spanish.

SAMHSA: Opioid Treatment Program Directory

SAMHSA: Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
Find alcohol, drug, or mental health treatment facilities and programs around the country

SAMHSA: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medication-assisted treatment, including opioid treatment programs, combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders

Mental /Behavioral Health Treatment

If you or a loved one is experiencing crisis or emotional distress:

SAMSHA's Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) / TTY: 1-800-799-4889

SAMSHA's Veteran's Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) / TTY: 1-800-799-4889

Learn more about depression and the services available to help you or a loved one:

SAMSHA: Signs, risk factors, treatment, recovery, and social supports for depressive disorders

CDC: Depression and Anxiety

Stress Management

Learn more about healthy ways to manage stress: 

CDC - Coping with Stress

HHS 5 Point Strategy To Combat The Opioids Crisis: 1: Better addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services; 2: Better data; 3: better pain management; 4: better targeting of overdose reversing drugs; 5: better research


#ResistTheRisk is sponsored by the U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Massachusetts 

Updated August 14, 2023