Play Your Part
In Prescription Safety

Learn your script

Know Your Script

When it comes to responsible prescription drug use, we all have a part to play. Learn your script.

Storage and Disposal

Safely store or dispose of your unused or expired prescriptions.

The Risks

Learn more about what you should be asking your doctor and the risks of prescription medications.

Resources

Find more information about prescription medications including treatment resources for overcoming addiction.

Prescriptions are powerful. Know your script.

When it comes to overdose and addiction, we all have a part to play in keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe. “Know Your Script” is an initiative to empower each of us to make smart decisions and ask the right questions regarding prescribed medications. Champion your role against prescription drug misuse and always know your script.

  • Patients
  • Parents
  • Community

Starring Role: Patient

Act I: Ask Questions

It’s essential to know all of your treatment options before taking prescription medications. Play your part of the script by getting comfortable asking the right questions to your doctor or caregiver. Ask questions like:

  • How am I supposed to take this medication?
  • Are there safer alternatives?
  • Is there a risk of dependency or addiction?
  • What do I do if I miss a dose?
  • Should I avoid anything while taking this medication?
  • What is my plan to taper off?

Act II: Proper Use

Take the correct steps when using prescribed medication:

  • Follow the directions, as explained on the label.
  • Be aware of possible drug interactions.
  • Be aware of not mixing alcohol with medications.
  • Never stop or change a dosing regimen without talking to your doctor.
  • Never use another person’s prescription and never give prescription medications to others.
  • And finally, store prescription stimulants, sedatives and opioids safely.

Act III: Avoid the Risk

Talk to your doctor or dentist and ask about safe alternatives. These alternative treatment options can actually work better than opioids and have fewer risks and side effects. You can also avoid addiction. Most Utahns struggling with addiction received their first opioid prescription after a surgery or to treat a short-term injury. Don’t risk it. Ask for alternatives to opioids.

Starring Role: Parent

ACT I: Have the Talk

Parents, take center stage in keeping the script relevant in your household. Keep your kids safe by educating them on the risks of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Let them know that prescription medications can be powerful and addictive. Teens who learn about the dangers of misusing prescription drugs from their parents or grandparents are 42% less likely to abuse prescription drugs than teens who do not.

Act II: Educate & Empower

Ask your doctor about alternatives to model safe behavior and set clear standards on responsible prescription use. Have your kids talk to their doctor about prescribed medicine’s negative side effects. Be sure to spend quality time with your children and develop pro-social skills. Leave an open channel for discussion about drug use. Finally, store prescriptions safely, don’t share medication, and dispose of leftover medication.

Act III: Know the Risk

Know the potential social triggers that enable drug abuse such as: divorce, changing schools, depression, and bullying. If you're concerned about your child's possible drug abuse, alert your family doctor immediately. Early use of drugs increases a person’s chances of becoming addicted. Drugs change the brain. So, preventing early use of drugs or alcohol may go a long way in reducing these risks.

Connect with your teen Learn the symptoms & risks

As a Community

Act I: Light & Lead

Community members and leaders can make a difference too. Shed the spotlight on proper prescription use and addiction risk in your community by getting involved with The Utah Prevention Coalition Association. The UPCA is an organization that prevents risky behavior health choices by implementing effective prevention programs, practices, and policies in communities all around the state. If you would like to get involved in the act, contact your local coalition. Find one in your area at UtahPrevention.org.

Safe Storage & Disposal

29% of Utahns reported throwing their unused or expired prescription meds in the trash, while 15% flushed them down the toilet or sink. Proper disposal is good for Utah. Think before you flush — don’t risk contaminating the groundwater or fish.

If access to drop boxes or take-back events are limited in your area, you can also follow the steps below to dispose of opioids in your household trash.

  • Mix medications (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with items such as kitty litter, a soiled diaper or used coffee grounds prior to putting in the trash; place the mixture in a sealed device (e.g., plastic bag).

  • Remove or scratch out all information on the prescription label before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medication packaging.

Safely dispose of your leftover or expired medications by using a medication drop box. These permanent community collection sites are free and can be found at law enforcement agencies and participating pharmacies across the state.

Print a household reminder

Know the Risk

Not all prescription drugs are the same. Opioids, stimulants, and sedatives can come with risks and be highly addictive. That's why prescription drugs should always be used carefully.

Misuse of prescription drugs means taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain; or taking a medication to feel euphoria (i.e., to get high). The term ‘nonmedical use of prescription drugs’ also refers to these categories of misuse. The three classes of medication most commonly misused are:

  • Opioids, include prescription medications commonly prescribed to treat pain such as; Lortab, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Morphine, Methadone, Codeine, Demerol, and Norco.
  • Stimulants, commonly prescribed for ADHD, include prescription medications such as; Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and Dexedrine.
  • Sedatives, commonly prescribed to treat conditions like anxiety and sleep disorders, include prescription medications such as; Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Librium.

Talk to your healthcare provider before taking a new prescription to understand drug interactions, the risk of dependence, addiction, and if there are safe and effective alternatives that come with fewer risks and side effects.

Learn more about Opioids, Sedatives and Stimulants

Know the Signs of Prescription Abuse

Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of prescription drug addiction. Prescribed medicine can be dangerous and even deadly when misused. Signs and symptoms of abuse can be physical, behavioral, and psychological. If you or someone else you know is struggling with misusing prescription medications and are showing these signs, seek help immediately. These are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Taking higher doses or taking more frequently than prescribed

  • "Craving" just one more pill or refill

  • Running out of prescriptions too soon

  • Taking an opioid for its psychological effects or to feel high

  • Compulsively seeking and using opioids despite harmful consequences

  • Taking a prescription medication for reasons other than why it was prescribed

  • Continuously "losing" prescriptions and requesting replacements

  • Mixing pills and alcohol

  • Seeking medications for more than one injury or with multiple doctors or pharmacists

  • Exhibiting abnormal behaviors, hostility, excessive mood swings, or sudden personality changes

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or social activities

  • Losing appetite and extreme changes in weight

  • Neglecting responsibilities

  • Distracted, unable to focus, confused

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Poor decision making

If you or someone else you know is struggling with prescription drug misuse and shows these signs, get help now.

Get Help

Get Help

If you or someone you know shows signs of misuse or addiction, seek help. Dial 2-1-1. Utah has many treatment resources available for overcoming dependence and addiction to prescription medications. If it's an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you have other questions or concerns about prescribed medications, contact your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.

Get Help

Find the Right Resources

The "Know Your Script" campaign is a media and education campaign funded by public and private partners designed to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription medications in Utah by providing information and strategies regarding safe use, safe storage, and safe disposal. Efforts include a paid media campaign, online presence, local community outreach, and nontraditional public relations events.

To learn more about prescription drugs and other drugs, visit the NIDA website at drugabuse.gov or contact the DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center at 877-NIDA-NIH (877-643-2644; TTY/TDD: 240-645-0228).

NIDA websites and webpages

Information about prescription drug misuse is also available through the following websites: