How should my child take opioids safely?

  • When possible, use non-opioid medications first to control pain. Other medications, like acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) can work well to control pain.
  • Give opioids only for strong pain. Follow the doctor’s exact directions on how to take the opioid. Don’t take opioids for anxiety, sleep or other medical problems. Taking opioids for something other than pain can cause your child to become addicted or dependent on them.
  • As your child’s pain gets better, you can give less of the opioid. Start by lowering the dose (like 1 pill instead of 2, for example). Then, space out the time between doses.
  • Opioids shouldn’t be taken with alcohol, drugs or medications for anxiety. Taking opioids with alcohol or drugs raises the risk of accidental death (dying by accident).
  • Never give or sell your child’s opioid to anyone else. This is very dangerous and illegal (against the law). The doctor has written the prescription just for your child, not for anyone else.
  • Call your child’s doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How should I store my child's opioid safely?

  • Hide or lock up the opioid where only you can reach it. This way, friends, family and pets can’t reach or accidentally take it.
  • Keep the opioid in the original container. This way, you can see who the opioid is for and how to take it safely.

How should I get rid of my child’s opioid safely?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, flushing unwanted medications down a toilet or sink damages sewer systems and the eco-system. Safely dispose of unused drugs at collection kiosks located throughout the state. Click here for a complete list.

Did you know?

There is a safe drop-box to dispose of medications, including opioids, at Massachusetts General Hospital. The blue drop-box is across from the Outpatient Pharmacy in the White building.