SEATTLE — Deaths related to the opioid epidemic are on the rise in Washington State. New campaign Starts with One is shining a light on the dangers of abusing opioid medications. The goal is to educate children about when opiate use is appropriate and the dangers posed when they are misused.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Washington State Health Care Authority, Dr. Charissa Fotinos, talked with us about what opioids, the dangers they can pose to your health, ways people can avoid misusing them, and steps we can all take to curb the opioid crisis.
The Starts With One campaign is the Health Care Authority beginning the conversation around the opiate use crisis, said Dr. Fotinos.
What can you do to prevent opioid misuse?
- Simple steps, like locking up medications in a locked cabinet or locking bag, can prevent them from being misused
- Never store opioids in an unlocked cabinet or bathroom where others can access them out of view
- Purchase a medication locking bag on Amazon
- Safely dispose of your medications at medication take-back sites
- Have a conversation with a friend or loved one via Skype, Facetime, etc. about the dangers of sharing and misusing opioids and the importance of keeping each other safe
- Research has shown that kids are 50% less likely to use drugs when parents talk to them about the risks. With kids at home during school closures and many parents also at home, we have more opportunities to connect
- Talk to your health care provider about alternative pain management options
- If you’ve been prescribed opioids and need to take them, ask for a partial fill at the pharmacy
For more information and resources, visit the getthefactsrx.com.