• Mayo Clinic Minute: Do not share pain medication

Have you ever given a friend or family member your leftover prescription pain pills because they have a sore back or a headache? Mayo Clinic experts say sharing opioids is never a good idea.

Reporter Vivien Williams talks with Dr. Michael Hooten, a pain management specialist at Mayo Clinic, about why sharing opioid pain medications can be dangerous.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

“Any prescription medication should never be shared, especially opioids.”

Dr. Hooten gives two big reasons why you should not share opioid pain medication.

“They are dangerous. They could have adverse effects that the individuals may not even recognize.”

Plus, sharing opioids is against the law. A study shows 1 out of 5 people who were prescribed opioids shared them, mostly to help friends or family with pain. And almost half of the people in the study did not know what to do with leftover pills.

“My recommendation to patients is if there’s any medication left over at all, it needs to be disposed of. It needs to be out of the house. This is not a medication you want sitting in the cabinet for some use in the future.”

Dr. Hooten says rules about medication disposal vary state by state. Visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website to find out how to dispose of medication safely.

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