Opioid medications can be a godsend for people with excruciating pain, but they’re also used as party drugs that can lead to life ending overdoses.
According to health experts, America is in the midst of an opioid crisis — a phenomenon that’s gained increased attention following the Fentanyl-related death of iconic musician Prince. But the majority of deaths from opioid overdose don’t involve someone famous.
“Since 1999, deaths from prescription pain medications in the US have quadrupled, and right now, 44 people die from prescription opioid overdose each day,” says HealthIT.gov. Most of the deaths don’t make the news, and the dead are buried with most of us being none the wiser.
Medication Stickers for Opioids
Reversing an opioid abuse epidemic involves policy changes for how the medications are prescribed, as well as electronic prescription drug monitoring programs that let pharmacies see whether customers are filling opioid scripts at more than one pharmacy.
However, a large percentage of opioid abuse is opportunistic and not strategic, particularly among youths. For example, instead of doctor shopping for meds, someone finds a bottle of legitimately prescribed pain medication in a friend or relative’s medicine cabinet after getting a bit too curious. They may have little to no experience with the med but call up friends to throw a pill party anyway.
At many such parties, opioids aren’t the only central nervous system (CNS) depressants consumed. Stacking alcohol and/or benzodiazepines on top of an opioid is a common practice, one that causes some partiers to fall asleep and not wake up, as a massive influx of CNS depressants causes the body’s autonomic functions to cease.
Drug policy makers can help prevent opioid-related deaths by stopping medication from falling into the wrong hands at the pharmacy window, but they can’t halt people from abusing opioids as after stealing the meds from one who acquired them legitimately.
Pharmacies, however, can help prevent secondhand abuse by strategically applying appropriate medication stickers to pill vials. Below are four examples of legend labels from Drug Package that can be applied to opioid prescriptions to increase awareness of the drugs’ effects:
- “Do not drink alcoholic beverages when taking this medication”
- “Obtain medical advice before taking non-prescription drugs. Some may affect the action of this medication.”
- “May cause drowsiness or dizziness”
- “This drug may impair the ability to drive or operate machinery. Use care until you become familiar with its effects.”
The warnings won’t stop everyone from abusing opioids, but they provide information that leads to a more educated decision. Those who decide to “chase the dragon” anyway do so out of cognizance and not naivete.
Order Medication Stickers Today
Effectively ending America’s opioid epidemic requires participation from all parties involved in accessing opioid medications. Your pharmacy can do its part by applying stock or custom medication stickers in the form of legend labels to vials of opioid meds.
To place an order, contact us today by calling (800) 325-6137, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to helping you dispense responsibly!