Pledge to Pause: Patient Education Can Save Lives

As the country looks to reverse the harmful trend of opioid addiction, the importance of engaging patients, raising awareness about the risks of opioid abuse and educating about safe use is critical. The PA Foundation and AAOA are working together to engage and mobilize PA students around this important issue.

Take the Pledge: Pause Before You Prescribe

As a future PA and prescriber, I pledge to pause to talk to my patients and their caregivers about the treatment options available for pain, and risks associated with prescription opioids, as well as their responsibility to safely store and appropriately dispose of leftover medications.

I will help combat the opioid epidemic by engaging my patients to make sure they understand their rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids.

Sign the Pledge

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I just pledged to pause before prescribing opioids. Join @AAOA_tweets and PAs across the country in helping prevent opioid abuse and misuse through education. Take the pledge:

Three Things You Need to Know About Prescription Opioids

Questions to Ask Your Provider: Pain Management and Prescription Opioids

Don’t Dash…Discuss!

Talk with your patients about addiction risks and ask about any personal or family history of addiction.

  • Consider alternative treatment if there is a past history of addiction.
  • Educate about partial fill at the pharmacy as a strategy to limit quantities on hand.

Discuss what to do with leftover medication.

  • Remind patients to dispose of leftover opioid medication:
    • Refer to the product packaging for disposal instructions.
    • Share local disposal guidelines.
    • Provide information on local drug take back programs.

Review Safe Use and Secure Storage

  • Never share prescriptions.
  • Follow the instructions provided.
  • Store all opioids in their original packaging and retain the prescription package information, directions for use and expiration date.
  • Keep opioids out of reach of children and in a locked cabinet or lockbox away from family members and house guests.
  • Remind patients who wear a fentanyl patch to cover it with adhesive film to make sure it does not fall off and regularly check to make sure it is still in place.
  • Urge patients to monitor the medicine they take and how much remains after each dose so they know if there is any missing medicine.

Our Partner: PA Foundation

PA Foundation empowers PAs to improve health through philanthropy and service and is the charitable arm of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA). We are working together to engage and mobilize PA students to educate patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids.


1 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA:

2 JAMA Surgery:

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: