Parents: Turkey makes great leftovers — opioids do not

ANN ARBOR—Leftover prescription opioids present huge dangers to kids, yet most moms and dads keep their own and their kid’s unused pain relievers even after they’re no longer clinically needed for discomfort.

But a brand-new University of Michigan research study recommends that practical disposal coupled with customized threat education can enhance those numbers.

Terri Voepel-Lewis, U-M associate teacher of nursing, and associates, discovered that timely disposal of remaining medications enhanced if moms and dads got a disposal package at the time the medications were recommended. Even more, moms and dads who saw customized online messages about the dangers opioids present to kids and teenagers were less most likely to report that they planned to keep remaining medications.

The research study consisted of 517 moms and dads of kids ages 7-17 who were recommended a brief course of opioids. Moms and dads were positioned in among 3 groups: some got a take-home tablet disposal package; some got the package and an interactive web-based program inquiring to make opioid dosing choices for their kids in various real-life circumstances; and some gotten neither intervention.

Of the moms and dads, 93% had remaining medications however just 19% in the control group without delay dealt with them. Nevertheless, timely disposal doubled (38.5%) for moms and dads who got both interventions.

Further, the variety of moms and dads in the web intervention group who prepared to keep remaining opioids was half the number in the control group. Greater threat understanding reduced the chances of moms and dads keeping the leftover opioids, while adult previous opioid abuse increased them.

The takeaway for moms and dads is that remaining opioids present the threat of poisoning and death for kids. The only method to totally prevent this threat is to eliminate leftovers as quickly as possible, stated Voepel-Lewis, primary detective on the job.

The takeaway for prescribers is that the very best method to enhance timely disposal rates is to provide moms and dads an easy method to get rid of the drugs, coupled with details that increases their understanding of the threat that keeping remaining medications positions to their kids.

Several findings in the research study amazed the scientists, Voepel-Lewis stated.

“The high rate of parental misuse (11.8%) was a surprise—and that this and past retention behaviors were so predictive of intention to keep the drug around,” she stated. “This is something that prescribers need to know and assess for.”

Nor did the group anticipate that intention-to-dispose rates would be as high, provided past findings, Voepel-Lewis stated.

“We believe that the opioid crisis awareness in our community may have falsely increased parents’ reports of intention to dispose, knowing that many people in Michigan have died from accidental overdose,” she stated.

Though recommending rates have actually just recently reduced for opioids, remaining medications are still typical for opioids and other dangerous drugs, like sedatives and stimulants.

“Many hospitals are now beginning to give disposal packets, mostly marketed and costly ones, with opioids,” Voepel-Lewis stated. “They are not doing this with other risky drugs and the risk enhancement information is lacking. We will make our educational information available at the end of our studies.”


The research study, “Behavioral Intervention and Disposal of Leftover Opioids: A Randomized Trial” (DOI: 10.1542/peds.2019-1431), is arranged to appear online Dec. 23 in the journal Pediatrics.

The work is moneyed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Other co-authors consist of Carol Boyd, teacher emerita of nursing and co-director of the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health; and Brian Zikmund-Fisher, associate teacher of public health and research study associate teacher in internal medication.

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