Safe Opioid Storage and Disposal: A Survey of Patient Beliefs and Practices
Received 18 December 2019
Accepted for publication 16 April 2020
Published 11 May 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 987—995
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall
Razmic Gregorian,1 Elizabeth Marrett,2 Vivek Sivathanu,1 Mariana Torgal,1 Sejal Shah,1 Winghan Jacqueline Kwong,2 Jeffrey Gudin3
1Simon-Kucher & Partners, Cambridge, MA, USA; 2Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Basking Ridge, NJ, USA; 3Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA
Correspondence: Razmic Gregorian
Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy and Marketing Consultants, LLC, 201 Washington Street, Suite 3301, Boston, MA 02108, USA
Objective: To evaluate knowledge, practices, and beliefs of US patients receiving prescription opioids regarding opioid storage, disposal, and diversion.
Design: Internet-based, cross-sectional survey conducted between September and October 2018. Fisher’s exact tests and Kendall’s Tau-c were used to assess associations with storage and disposal outcomes.
Participants: Patients aged ≥ 18 years with acute (n=250) or chronic noncancer (n=250) pain were prescribed an oral opioid within 90 days of the survey.
Results: Mean (SD) patient age was 48 (14.7) years, 57.2% were female, 82.6% lived with ≥ 1 person in the home, and 28.0% had remaining/unused pills. One-third of all patients received safe opioid storage (35.2%) and/or disposal (31.4%) counseling from a healthcare provider, while 50.0% received neither storage nor disposal information. Only 27.4% of all patients stored their opioids in a locked location, and 17.9% of those with remaining/unused pills disposed of their medication. Patients who received any opioid counseling were more likely to keep their medication in a locked location compared with those who did not (42.4% vs 12.4%, respectively; P< 0.0001), as were those who perceived any risk of opioid diversion in the home compared with those who perceived no risk or were unsure (53.7% vs 24.2%, respectively; P< 0.0001). Disposal rates did not differ based on counseling received (20.8% counseled vs 16.1% not counseled; P=0.5011) or perceived diversion risk (27.8% perceived any risk vs 16.4% perceived no risk or unsure; P=0.3166).
Conclusion: The proportion of patients receiving prescription opioids who receive safe storage/disposal counseling from a healthcare provider appears suboptimal. Further research is warranted to develop effective ways to improve patient opioid storage/disposal education and practices.
Keywords: surveys, misuse, diversion, abuse, opioids
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