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Methadone and Buprenorphine Safe Handling Procedures

December 30, 2016

Methadone and buprenorphine are extremely helpful medications for the treatment of opioid addiction. The safety and efficacy of these medications has been well documented for decades. When used properly, they decrease or eliminate physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opiates. Because of their long half life and slow absorption rates, when taken as prescribed, they do not produce euphoria or a feeling of being high.

However, methadone and buprenorphine can be very dangerous when taken by someone who does not have a tolerance for opiates. The accidental ingestion of methadone or buprenorphine, especially by children, is a well recognized risk of prescribing this medication. This is why it is important to practice safe storage procedures at all times.

Safe storage procedures for your medication are as follows:

  1. All take home medication will be dispensed to you in a sealed, child resistant container.

  2. Medication should be carried out of the clinic in a locked box and must remain in the locked box until it is time to take it.

  3. Store your locked box out of the reach of children.

  4. After you have taken your medication, return your empty bottle to the locked box, as even residue from the bottle can be enough to severely injure or kill children or pets.

  5. Return your bottle to the clinic in your locked box.

Take home medication doses in an opioid treatment program setting are a privilege. In order to continue receiving take home medication, the benefits of having take homes must outweigh the risks. By practicing safe storage of your medication, you greatly limit the risk associated with accidental overdose.

We wish everyone has a safe and happy new year!

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