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ODMHSAS Promotes Responsible Medication Practices Through SAFER Campaign

Friday, January 19, 2024

ODMHSAS has launched a new initiative aimed at educating and raising awareness about the safe use, storage and disposal of opioids and other prescription medications.

The SAFER campaign seeks to reach Oklahomans who are 12 years of age and older. The initiative emphasizes the crucial message that while no opioid or prescription medication is entirely safe, individuals can adopt practices to ensure they are safer in managing their medications specifically regarding safer use, storage and disposal practices.

  • SAFER USE: Emphasizing the importance of never sharing or borrowing medications, and recognizing the inherent risks associated with such actions.
  • SAFER STORAGE: Encouraging individuals to safeguard their families by securely storing medications out of reach from others, especially children.
  • SAFER DISPOSAL: Providing guidance on the proper disposal of old or unused medications, mitigating the risk of them falling into unintended hands. There are drop-off locations across the state for safe drop-off. Click here to find a safe drop-off location near you.

In 2022, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that among people aged 12 years and older who misused prescription pain relievers in the past year, 44.6% obtained the pain relievers from a friend or relative in some way (i.e., being given them, buying them or taking them without asking). 24.9% reported prescription drug misuse or other illicit drug use in the past year. The highest rate of misuse reported for prescription medications is in the age group of 18-25.

Sharing opioids and other prescriptions is not only illegal but also dangerous. Safe use includes not sharing medications with others. Prescriptions should be stored out of reach, and preferably locked, away from children in a safe place to avoid misuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, nearly 60,000 children end up in the ER after finding and taking medications (excluding recreational drug use). Expired or unused prescriptions can often end up in the wrong hands. However, many patients are unaware of how to dispose of leftover or unwanted medications properly.

"Through the SAFER campaign, we aim to empower Oklahomans with knowledge and practices to use, store and dispose of their medications responsibly. Our focus is on promoting a culture of safe medication management, reducing risks and safeguarding our communities," says Heath Hayes, Deputy Commissioner of ODMHSAS.

It is advised to only take prescribed medications, in the correct dosage, at the correct frequency and not take them once they’ve expired. The same prescription medications that help you feel better can hurt you or someone else when they’re not handled properly.

Using, storing and disposing of medications properly can prevent unwanted side effects including accidental overdose. Just a few basic precautions can make a world of difference.

To get more information on how to safely use, store, and dispose of medications, visit

ODMHSAS Communications

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