facebook pixel Limiting Prescription Opioid Misuse
Site Search
< Blog Home < In the Community

Limiting Prescription Opioid Misuse

Find out what steps SelectHealth is taking to help combat the current opioid epidemic.

Pill bottles, Trying to Limit Prescription Opioid Misuse

Prescription narcotic misuse and abuse is a national epidemic, and research suggests that the storage of excess pain medication is the number one source of opioid misuse. It’s far too common for someone to find possibly dangerous and addictive prescription drugs looming in the family medicine cabinet. Studies have shown that two-thirds of all opioids misused and abused come from family members or friends.


The critical task is educating the community that there is no such thing as safe leftover medications. To help combat the epidemic, SelectHealth began limiting initial fills of opioid prescriptions for acute pain to seven days—this measure went into effect on September 1, 2017.

Related: Opioid Tablets Being Reduced at Intermountain Healthcare

These prescription drugs are commonly written for a 10- or 30-day supply, but recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that more than seven days is rarely needed, and three days or less is often sufficient.  

Expert studies note that each day of unnecessary opioid use increases the likelihood of physical dependence without added benefit. In fact, an initial opioid fill, or authorized second fill, greater than seven days doubles the likelihood of opioid use one year later.  

The SelectHealth policy could lessen nonmedical exposure to prescription opioids and potentially reduce dependency and abuse. Along with limiting oversupply of prescription opioids, proper disposal minimizes the source of prescription diversion. SelectHealth partners with Intermountain Medical Group to support initiatives for patient and member education and community organizations aimed at reducing opioid misuse and abuse.  

Related: Utah's Opioid Epidemic

“We have medication take-back events every day,” said Buck Stanford, Intermountain System Pharmacy Operations Director. “We have collected over 15,000 pounds of unused medication since our program started. Our pharmacies were the first health system in the U.S. to invest in this program. We are essentially a supplement to the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back program throughout the year.”

Stanford added that anyone can dispose of medications at Intermountain Community Pharmacies, which serve as an extension of many Intermountain hospitals and clinics with collection sites. 

For more information about opioids and safe disposal, including drop box locations, visit useonlyasdirected.org.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

You May Also Like...

Healthy Living

7 Daily Exercises You Can Do While You Brush Your Teeth

Get your body moving with these simple exercises you can do while brushing your teeth.

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Preventive Care for Men and Women: Cancer Screenings [Infographic]

Preventive care can help you gauge your current health status and find out ways to protect it now and in the future. Follow these recommendations for getting screened for cancer.

Nutrition and Diet

4-Ingredient Strawberry Smoothie

Cool off with this delicious strawberry smoothie—sweetened with a bit of honey and yogurt.


How Our Mission Differentiates Us from Our Competitors

Here’s a look at how our mission helps our products differ from our competitors, how we educate consumers about their plan options, and how our team is involved in local communities.

Contenido Español

Consejos para preparar un depósito de alimentos y qué tener en su despensa

Cocinar en casa no tiene que ser complicado.

Related Articles

Related Articles

In the Community

Gear Up for Winter and Hit Our Readers' Favorite Sledding Spots

Have some fun sledding this winter—you’ve even told us the best places to go!

In the Community

Strong, Stable, & Committed to Utah

We’re Strong, Stable, & Committed to Utah: A Message from Patricia R. Richards, SelectHealth President & CEO

In the Community

Farmers Markets: Local Treasures

The perfect place to find fresh food and fun.

In the Community

Infographic: Why SelectHealth

SelectHealth is one good choice. In fact, it’s a good choice that leads to lots of other good choices. And every decision makes a difference.

Post Author

Carrie Brown