August 26, 2019

Reach for the Facts: What you need to know about Opioids

Did you know that 1 in 10 people who misuse opioids develop a dependency? And that 3.1 million Australians are prescribed opioids every year? The risk for dependency is high, and so the Return to Work Authority SA has created the Reach for the Facts campaign.

Is it an Opioid?
There are over 60 different kinds of prescription analgesics that contain opioids in Australia. Luckily there’s a tool available to help you determine if your prescription is an opioid. Try it now.

Could you be dependent?
A dependency on opioids can develop within just five days of starting treatment, so it’s important you remain aware of the risks, and do not misuse your prescription. To find out the likelihood that you may have a dependency, you can take this simple questionnaire.

What should you do with any unwanted or expired opioids?
It is important to dispose of these quickly once you no longer require them, because of the risks of keeping expired medicines in the home. It’s also important you don’t keep the unwanted opioids just because they could be useful at another time, as each prescription is based on a current set of circumstances that could change over time.

You can take your unwanted opioids (out of the packaging) to your local community pharmacy for disposal in the RUM bin. They will handle it safely and securely and in accordance with their state’s regulations. 

You do not necessarily need to return the unwanted or expired opioids to the pharmacy where you originally collected it – all pharmacies have the RUM bin available.

For more information about opioids, visit the Reach for the Facts website.

For more information about returning unwanted or expired medicine to your pharmacy, visit

The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.

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