Safe Use


When properly used, prescription painkillers can be effective tools for managing discomfort and assisting with healing. However, if abused, they can be lethal.


Proper storage and disposal is critical. Sixty-eight percent of those who abuse prescription painkillers obtain them from a friend or relative. Learn more about Safe Storage and Safe Disposal.


Prescription Painkillers and Teens
National surveys find teens believe prescription painkillers are safer to use than street drugs because a doctor prescribes them. Teens also report prescription drugs are “easier to get than beer” because they can take them from their friends’ and family’s medicine cabinets.

Drug Dependence

Many of the most commonly prescribed painkillers, including OxyContin, Vicodin, Methadone, Darvocet, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lorcet and Percocet, can trigger the feeling of “needing” the drug.  Watch for these signs in others, or yourself, to detect painkiller dependency:

  • Taking painkillers more often, even when not experiencing much discomfort
  • Spending more and more time obtaining prescriptions
  • Cash, valuables or medicine missing from the home
  • Mood and personality changes, becoming defensive
  • Excessive drowsiness and lack of appetite
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or social activities
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Increasingly sensitive to normal sights, sounds, emotions
  • Blackouts and forgetfulness

Where To Go For Help

Several Oregon agencies offer help with addiction or dependency. To learn more, go to: