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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar 21

J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother

The Effect of Patient Opioid Education on Opioid Use, Storage, and Disposal Patterns.


McElyea J, Sam B, Hollingsworth H, Chamberlain C, Brown SL
J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2022 Mar 21:1-7.
PMID: 35311594.


We evaluated the impact of patient education over opioid use, storage, and disposal on opioid handling patterns of palliative and chronic nonmalignant pain patients. We compared patient surveys before and after education and conducted further analysis for individual clinics due to group differences found prior to education. A total of 100 patients were included. After education, more patients reported never sharing their prescription opioid (95% vs. 66%;  < 0.01), and all reported awareness that one dose could be harmful to someone else (100% vs. 31%;  < 0.01). In addition, more patients reported locking their opioid for storage (85% vs. 13%;  < 0.01). Lastly, less patients reported leftover opioids (2% vs. 40%;  < 0.01), not always disposing (1% vs. 44%;  < 0.01), or purposefully saving (0% vs. 15%;  < 0.01), and all reported knowing the right way to dispose (100% vs. 14%;  < 0.01). Proper methods of disposal increased, including mixing with unpalatable substances (96% vs. 13%;  < 0.01) and utilizing drug-take-back programs (78% vs. 24%;  < 0.01). This project found that patient education improves knowledge and behavior related to opioid handling patterns. Further initiatives should help to identify higher-risk patients and develop educational tools.