Medication Use /

Using a drug correctly starts by talking with your doctor

Appropriate Use of Prescription Medications

Opioids and other medications can provide relief from illness and pain. These drugs can be taken safely, but only when used properly and under a doctor’s close watch.

Using a drug correctly starts by talking with your doctor—be sure to ask questions when a new drug has been prescribed to you:

  • What is the medication being prescribed for?
  • How often should I take it, and at what dosage?
  • How long do I need to take it?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • How will this interact with any other medications I take?
  • Is it possible to get addicted?


  • Always keep your medications safely stored in a locked location and in their original packaging.
  • Read the included pamphlet with the knowledge that some listed side effects are extremely rare.
  • Get to know your pharmacist, who is an expert on prescription medications and will be able to give you useful advice about how to take them.
  • Don’t ignore noticeable side effects or changes in physical/mental health—always discuss with your doctor.
  • Check the expiration date.
  • NEVER give friends or family members medications that were not prescribed to them.
  • Take as directed, only use as long as they are needed.
  • Schedule regular check ups with your doctor while taking an opioid.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor about any medications you may be taking or substances that you may be using to learn more about how they may impact your baby.

Warning signs that someone you know has prescription painkiller dependency:

  • They are thinking about it a lot
  • They are talking about it a lot
  • You notice they are taking different amounts than what the doctor prescribed
  • You notice they are seeing multiple doctors (this can be doctor shopping)
  • They get painkillers from multiple sources (their doctors, online, friends)
  • They’ve been using painkillers for a long period of time
  • They get mad if you talk to them about it

If you have unwanted, unused, or expired medications that you would like to dispose of safely, you can find a drug take back location near you.

If you or someone you know is ready to stop using drugs, call 211 today. You can also text your zip code to 898-211 (TXT-211) to be connected with a friendly Maine-based Specialist.

We all must open our eyes. Treatment is available. Recovery is possible. Get help today.

What to do if you think a loved one is dependent:

  • Call 211
  • Talk with your doctor
  • Have an honest conversation


If you’ve decided you need help, there are places you can turn. Visit to get started.

Help is available, free and confidential — Call or Text 211 Today

Help is available, free and confidential — Call or Text 211 Today

When You Call 211

After you CALL 211, select option “6” to access the Opiate Helpline. A Maine-based specialist will refer you to a provider who can help. A specialist will answer your questions to the best of their abilities. You will receive encouragement and support to help you or a loved one.

When you TEXT your zip code to 898-211

After you TEXT your zip code to 898-211, you are automatically connected with a Maine-based specialist. The specialists will text you back asking what services you are looking for and provide you referrals as close to where you live as possible.

Opioid dependency isn’t worth the pain and suffering it comes with. Call 211 now to make a difference in someone’s life.