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What to Do with Prescription Drugs When Living with a Recovering Addict


For those who have achieved sobriety after addiction, recovery can be a rewarding yet challenging journey. The support of loved ones is instrumental in order to help ensure that someone in recovery continues to embrace their health and avoids relapse. However, there are many struggles that friends and family members may face when adjusting to life when a loved one recovering from addiction has reentered their lives.

Individuals who live with or spend time with someone recovering from a prescription drug or opioid addiction may find that it can be difficult to avoid sensitive situations—such as having addictive medications around. Since many of addictive medications can be prescribed and used for legitimate purposes, many of those who know recovering addicts may continue to use them. However, it is important to recognize that—apart from doctors—many of those who have prescription drug problems will obtain the substances from people they know.

Here are a few tips for handling prescription medications around those recovering from addiction:

  • You Do Not Have To Bring It Up

If you have been injured or experienced a painful medical circumstance, your doctor may prescribe you with a painkiller for temporary use. While it is important to let loved ones know you are using these drugs and to use them responsibly, you do not have to tell a recovering addict that you have gained access to a medication.

Although every circumstance is different, if you can avoid bringing up the use of prescription medications, you can avoid letting an individual know that they are in the presence of a tempting substance.

  • Do Not Share

Those who have not gone through an addiction recovery program or have struggled with addiction personally may not understand the risk that is presented when addictive substances are brought back into a sober individual’s life. If a loved one knows you are using painkillers or another prescribed medication, they may hit a rough patch and enter a risky territory for relapse. If a recovering addict asks you for drugs—such as to self-medicate—do not share these substances with them.

In this situation, it is important to help the individual seek help immediately. If one is in real pain, you should help them consult a doctor or an emergency medical professional. If your loved one is struggling with the risk of relapse, it is suggested that you urge them to get in touch with their counselor, support group or preferred recovery center.

  • Store Medications Discretely

Although it is important to trust individuals who are in recovery, it may be necessary to provide added caution to ensure that they do not have access to addictive drugs—especially if they live within your home. It is recommended that if using prescription medications that you store them in a discrete location where they cannot be stumbled upon or accessed illicitly. If possible, storing these drugs in a locked safe is the best solution.

  • Dispose of Prescription Medications Properly

Depending on where you live, law enforcement and health professionals will host prescription drop-off days where individuals can properly dispose of medications without posing threat to themselves, loved ones or the public. The FDA has plenty of information regarding Drug Take-Back Days and why it is important to use these channels to dispose of medications.

If you or a loved one is currently struggling with prescription drug addiction or is experiencing a relapse, it is important to seek medical detox and rehabilitation immediately. Chapters Capistrano provides a welcoming atmosphere with flexible treatment options in which individuals can comfortably face and recover from prescription drug addiction. In addition, our facility offers extensive family counseling and relapse prevention programs to better help guests prepare for life after rehab and achieve greater security in sobriety.

To learn more, please contact our trusted team today at 949-371-4198.