A Dose of Truth | How to Manage Your Prescription Opioids

Safely Managing Your Prescription

If you get a prescription for opioids, there are easy and important ways to manage your pills that will protect you and your loved ones.


Limit Your Use

Opioids should only be taken for short amounts of time. Unlike antibiotics, where taking the entire course of medication is necessary, you should stop taking opioids as soon as your pain starts to subside.

Safely Store Pills

Leaving pills on counters or in easily accessible medicine cabinets can lead others to take your pills without your knowledge. Store your pills in a safe place, out of the reach of children, or in a locked cabinet to prevent accidentally providing access to friends or family.

Don't Share Your Pills

Prescriptions are given for specific purposes based on the unique needs of each individual, and a recommended dose for one person could be harmful to another. Use your prescription for your own medical needs only.

Safely Dispose of Leftover Pills

If you have leftover pills, do not hang onto them for future use. If your pain returns, that’s because your body has not fully healed and you likely need additional measures to fully recover. Promptly get rid of leftover pills by taking them back to your pharmacy, finding a safe drug disposal site near you, or by following approved tips for disposing of pills in the home. Do not throw loose pills in the trash or flush them down the toilet.

Seek Alternatives

Opioids reduce the feeling of pain, but they do not heal physical injuries. Typically, additional measures such as stretching, strength training, rest, or other rehabilitative therapies help the recovery process. Talk to your doctor about non-addictive alternatives.


Get Help


If you are concerned for your own or for someone else’s safety, and suspect opioid misuse or addiction, get help immediately. Contact the Illinois Helpline here or visit our Resources page for more information.

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