Prevention & Harm Reduction
Opioids are the most commonly misused type of prescription medication in the U.S. Unsafe prescribing and dispensing practices, such as combining opioids and benzodiazepines, greatly increase the risk of opioid use disorder and fatal overdose.
Syringe Service Program Registry
In August 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law The Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction Act, (Public Act 101-0356) which allows for the establishment and operation of a needle and hypodermic syringe access program or syringe services programs (SSP). SSPs are community-based and provide a range of preventive services, including vaccinations, testing for and linkage to treatment for infectious disease and, access to and disposal of sterile syringes and injection equipment.
Any governmental organization, health department, non-profit organization, or individual can register as an SSP. Register Here.
Prescription monitoring programs are state-run electronic databases that collect and distribute data about the prescription and dispensation of controlled substances. State prescription monitoring programs have been shown to lead to reductions in doctor “shopping” behavior, opioid prescribing, and overdose death rates.
Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program (ILPMP)
ILPMP collects information on controlled substance prescriptions (Schedules II, III, IV and V). These data are required to be reported on a daily basis by all retail pharmacies dispensing prescriptions in Illinois. Under Public Act 100-0564 (2017), all Illinois prescribers (with certain exceptions) must document an attempt to check the ILPMP when providing an initial prescription for Schedule II narcotics (including opioids).
ILPMP data assist health care providers assess prescribing practices, inform efforts to reduce high-risk opioid prescribing, and help prevent misuse of controlled substances and medical error.
IDPH, the Office of the Attorney General, and the University of Chicago developed a 15 minute training video for prescribers. The video can be incorporated into your training on proper opioid prescribing. It provides guidance for new prescribers to:
- Screen for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder;
- Monitor patients on opioids; and
- Appropriately incorporate the IL Prescription Drug Monitoring Program into clinical practice
Safe Drug Disposal
Most people who misuse prescription opioids obtain them from a friend or a family member, often from stores of unused or expired medication left in the home. All unused prescription medications, particularly unused prescription opioids and other controlled substances, should be disposed of properly to avoid misuse and medication confusion.
Flushing or throwing away unused prescription medications in the trash are not recommended, safe, or secure disposal methods. The best way to dispose of unused medications is through drug take-back programs and locations. Additionally, certain pharmacies may offer opioid disposal solutions that can be mixed with water to make medications unusable. See the Resources for Safe Drug Disposal (on the right sidebar) for take-back locations.