Allied Against Opioid Abuse Poll Highlights Need for Robust Consumer Education Effort to Address Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Survey Shows Lack of Awareness Around Safe Use, Storage and Disposal of Prescription Opioids

ARLINGTON, Va., March 16, 2018 — More than one-third of consumers are unaware of the need to safely dispose of unused opioids  one of the key findings from a new national poll from Morning Consult and commissioned by Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA). The findings underscore a significant gap in education and awareness regarding safe and appropriate use of prescription pain medicines and the urgent need for outreach to patients, caregivers and families around proactive steps to take to mitigate the likelihood of misuse before it occurs.

AAOA, a new national coalition of leading healthcare stakeholders, is taking this issue on directly. Since its launch this February, AAOA partners have focused on raising awareness about the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with opioid use to ensure patients and their families know how to safely and properly use, store and dispose of opioids.

The national poll surveyed more than 2,000 adults from February 16-18, 2018.

Key highlights from the survey include:

  • Approximately 36 percent of respondents said they did not know they needed to dispose of leftover prescription opioids.
  • Nearly 30 percent said they did not know how to safely dispose of opioids, raising concerns about the likelihood of abuse or misuse by friends or family members.
  • Only 22 percent said that their pharmacist or other healthcare providers have discussed safe storage or disposal of opioids.
  • More than 70 percent said detailed instructions from pharmacists would make a meaningful difference in addressing the crisis.
  • An overwhelming percentage – more than 80 percent – believed more dialogue between patients and their healthcare providers around the safe use of opioids could help address the opioid crisis. Roughly the same percentage of respondents pointed to increased public education as an important step to reversing the trend.

“These latest findings demonstrate how imperative it is to equip consumers and their families with the latest information they need around safe use, storage and disposal of opioids,” Ray Bullman, Executive Vice President of the National Council on Patient Information and Education, and an AAOA member, said. “AAOA is committed to helping to ensure they have ready access to this information that can help prevent abuse in the future.”

To read a summary of the poll results, click here. To address these gaps moving forward, AAOA has developed a new consumer toolkit that offers a guide and tips for safely managing opioid pain medicines at home. To view AAOA’s resources, click here.

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About Allied Against Opioid Abuse

Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including Caregiver Action Network, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Council on Patient Information and Education and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.