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AMA Offers Guidance to Physicians on Safe Storage, Disposal of Opioids

For immediate release:
Apr 18, 2017
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CHICAGO -- The American Medical Association (AMA) Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse released today new recommendations for physicians to promote safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription opioids. These new recommendations are part of the Task Force’s ongoing efforts to empower and enable physicians to take steps that can help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“These new recommendations can further reduce the amount of unwanted, unused and expired medications – making their diversion to nonmedical use much less likely,” said Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees and chair of the Task Force. “By taking these important steps, physicians can communicate common-sense approaches to their patients that can directly reduce the potential for harm.”

The release of the Task Force’s recommendations coincides with the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – on April 29 – that aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. The recommendations are:

Physicians should talk with their patients about the safe use and storage of prescription opioids. More than 70 percent of people misusing opioids are getting them from family and friends. Diversion of these drugs is illegal and may be deadly;

Physicians should remind their patients to store medicines so children can’t reach them and others would have difficulty finding or stealing them; and

Physicians should urge their patients to safely dispose of expired, unwanted and unused medications. Patients should take advantage of local “take back” programs, mail back programs and medication drop boxes at police stations and pharmacies.

The new recommendation can be downloaded at www.ama-assn.org/opioids-disposal

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Media Contact:
Jack Deutsch
AMA Media & Editorial
202-789-7442
[email protected]

About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted the AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

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