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

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.