On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

The Importance of Disposing of Medication Properly to Prevent Misuse

Misuse of prescription opioids, central nervous system depressants and stimulants is a serious public health problem in the United States. Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, in 2017, an estimated 18 million people (more than 6 percent of those aged 12 and older) have misused such medications at least once in the past year.

According to results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated two million Americans misused prescription pain relievers for the first time within the past year, which averages to approximately 5,480 initiates per day. Additionally, more than one million misused prescription stimulants, 1.5 million misused tranquilizers, and 271,000 misused sedatives for the first time.

Taking an old painkiller to relieve a headache or borrowing a friend’s medication might not seem like a big deal, but these simple acts are dangerous and considered abuse. Misuse of prescribed medication can have harmful ramifications, including negative reactions, addiction, overdose and death.

What is prescription drug abuse?

Not all drug abuse looks the same. Actions that seem harmless, such as borrowing a prescription drug from a friend or taking an extra dosage to increase desired results, are still considered drug abuse.

Taking any medication to get high

The non-medical use of prescription drugs is highest among young adults aged 18 to 25, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Some take medications to get high or use stimulants to help focus on academic tasks.

Taking a medication not prescribed to you

Taking any medication not prescribed to you can harm your body or have a dangerous reaction with medications you’re currently taking.

Taking medication in any way that is not directed

This includes taking more than the recommended dosage or using medication to treat a condition other than the one for which it was intended.

Each method of abuse is dangerous and can cause unintended side effects, including overdose.

Take Back Day

This Saturday, April 27, marks national Take Back Day. The US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division created Take Back Day to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.

How can I participate in Take Back Day?

The DEA makes it easy to participate. By entering your zip code here, you can find all participating locations near you to drop off old medications. As you go through your prescriptions, make sure you're properly storing the ones you do keep. 


It’s important to speak to your loved ones about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and to know of preexisting conditions or family history that may make you susceptible to prescription drug abuse. Even though it might seem difficult, openly discuss the side effects and addiction risks of any medication you are taking with your physician and seek professional help if you think you may be struggling with addiction.

Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery Opening Soon

Oklahoma is witnessing the devastating effects addiction has on individuals, their families and whole communities who suffer in the shadowy consequences of this terrible disease. Children are growing up without parents present, parents are burying their children, spouses having nowhere else to turn, and companies suffering significant workforce losses as employees struggle to maintain their jobs and households amidst crippling mental illness and addiction.

Whether with alcohol, drugs or prescription drug abuse, Oklahomans are struggling. In our state, overdoses have tripled since 1999.

We know that addiction is a medical condition — a disease of the brain and no different than heart disease or diabetes — yet it is still shrouded in shame and secrecy; isolating families, demonizing patients, and stripping all the crucial support needed to recover.

In fact, treatment and recovery have long been singularly focused on addiction therapy through fixed programs that have varying degrees of success. Longstanding addiction treatment methodologies have been helpful to some.

However, as the medical field of addictionology has progressed, we now know that 60 percent of people with addiction also present with a mental illness and 80 to 90 percent report a history of traumatic life events. This realization — that addiction is not necessarily a manifestation from a singular cause, but one of a series of co-occurring conditions — requires a more sophisticated, personalized medical approach to treatment to be successful.

And this is where the Arcadia Trails INTEGRIS Center for Addiction Recovery treatment model begins.

Arcadia Trails is a 40-bed chemical addiction residential treatment facility that adheres to the model that addiction is a brain-based condition that adversely impacts an individual’s thinking, emotions, behavior, spirituality and social relations. The mission is to give equal treatment to addiction, mental illness and trauma using evidence-based medical and psychological methods. An interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Kimberlee Wilson, Medical Director, will consist of psychologists, addiction/mental health/trauma therapists, nurses, recovery technicians, peer recovery coaches and recreational therapists.

Arcadia Trails will hold an open house and tour on May 2. Please visit the website for more information.

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