I live in the U.S., first off.

I was prescribed a narcotic following a minor surgery. I’m not going to say what kind of surgery that was and please don’t ask. I’ll just go ahead and say that the prescription was for hydrocodone/acetaminophen 5-35. I’m worried about having been prescribed this because I know there’s a state-wide electronic system used to monitor all prescriptions—accessible by all doctors, pharmacies, etc. anywhere else in my state—and I know that system is used to flag people for prescription drug abuse. I also know that medications like this are highly frowned upon by the healthcare system itself and even more so by the authorities. I assume it’s entirely possible that I look suspicious according to that system now.

I’ve only taken a three pills so far, out of ten total. If I take the other seven back to the pharmacy to have them destroyed, they’ll make a record of that, I would imagine.

What I mean is that I could just stop taking them now but never tell anyone that, and anyone looking at my medical history in the future would see that I picked up ten pills from the pharmacy, and that’s all they would see, and so I took the entire script as far as they know; whereas if I take the other seven back, and they make another entry in their records about that, that’s in effect like plus ten and then minus seven, and that way I would theoretically have three pills counted against my medical history instead of ten; right?

I could be way overanalyzing this, but frankly, I’m already terrified to take another one anyway. I honestly don’t like how they make me feel, which is good, but it would be just my luck that I’d take one more pill and start liking it immediately. I know what happens to people who end up liking this stuff, and how easy it is to end up liking it; I’ve seen it. It’s also that I’m still relatively young, and my health’s already bad enough at this point as it is, that I already know they’ll eventually put me in the ground with at least one major surgery, and I don’t want to have to get through that with ibuprofen because I’ve already blown it.

  • @MrQuallzin
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    962 months ago

    Pharmacy professional weighing in.

    You have absolutely nothing to worry about. Controls are monitored for what’s filled. Like another user said, if you take them back the pharmacy will just destroy them, nothing is documented. There are often self-serve drop boxes for meds in pharmacies, look to see where they might be in your area (Most of the time it’s a pharmacy, but can be elsewhere). Nothing is reported with med disposal.

    Gonna say as well that 10 tabs is absolutely nothing. 5-325 can come in bottles of 500 tabs, and seeing prescriptions for month-long supplies for chronic pain users is pretty common.

    The drug reporting watches for patient safety by making sure that a patient isn’t getting multiple prescriptions (potentially at different pharmacies, or different prescribers) that could interact with each other. Let’s say you take Oxycodone 5mg three times daily chronically. You get in an accident and the emergency room prescribes you Norco (your hydro/APAP 5-325). The monitoring tool lets them know that you’re already on an opioid and to either change therapy or verify the additional dose with your PCP.

    Anyways I’m rambling. Long story short, you’ve got the least suspicious prescription. Nothing to worry about.

  • @[email protected]
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    2 months ago

    Source: am psych RN and have lots of experience with ppl who are actually abusing drugs.

    Yeah you’re thinking about this waaaaaaaay too hard. PDMP is basically just a record that’s open to interpretation. One script from one doctor for 10 of an opiate looks fine and makes sense, especially if you also report the medical history of having had a surgery that year.

    What they’re looking for for signs of abuse is things like:

    • lots of different doctors (shopping around)
    • one doctor but in obscene quantities or doses (pill mill, also the patient will need to be tapered, depending on the drug cold turkey could kill them).
    • a drug that is different than the one they found on testing, so for instance you have a script for Adderall but there’s no Adderall in your pee but there is oxy. That means you probably sold it or traded it for the oxy.

    TLDR; Ten pills once is chump change.

    • @[email protected]
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      72 months ago

      Ten pills once is chump change

      When I was a patient at the VA pain clinic for a couple years, I could fart ten pills on any given day.

    • @[email protected]
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      21 month ago

      Don’t listen OP! They’re gonna bash through your front door any second now and haul you away to some gulag!

      Jk, you’re fine.

  • @Garbanzo
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    472 months ago

    I’m still relatively young

    Your naivety gives that away. I’m putting this on your permanent record.

    • S. G. TallentyreOP
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      142 months ago

      I’m quite a bit older than you think and even more naïve, I promise.

    • @bitchkat
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      22 months ago

      Don’t get so distressed

  • @[email protected]
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    2 months ago

    I could be way overanalyzing this

    You’re not overanalyzing it. You’re Wayyyyy overanalyzing it to a detrimental degree.

    Even if you did take them back, and the pharmacy made a log of it, it would just be in their internal pharmacy ‘drugs to destroy’ log and wouldn’t be sent to the state or anywhere else to update your records.

    All they see is that you were prescribed a very small amount of a low dose pain medication once after a surgery and you picked it up. Something thousands of people do every single day.

    It’s not that important. You’re not going to be red-flagged because your doctor/surgeon wrote a prescription and you picked it up.

    You only get flagged as a drug seeker for drug-seeking behavior. That does not include picking up a small prescription for a few pain meds a doctor wrote for you after minor surgery. If it did, anyone who’s ever had a root canal or tooth pulled would be flagged and the system would be useless.

    • @IphtashuFitz
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      112 months ago

      You only get flagged as a drug seeker for drug-seeking behavior.

      Exactly. My wife and I take a mix of Sudafed & another medicine when we have bad colds. The active ingredient for them is pseudoephedrine which can be used to make meth, so our state requires ID and limits how much you can purchase a month. On more than one occasion we’ve purchased the maximum we could in order to stock up before cold & flu season. Never had any issues doing so.

    • @Crackhappy
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      -81 month ago

      You’re overanalyzing their overanalyzing.

  • @[email protected]
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    2 months ago

    You’re over analyzing.

    The system is (supposedly) to track narcotics to prevent overprescribing. Your one-off script because of one surgery isn’t a concern.

    Take what you need. Don’t think just because today you feel OK you don’t need the refill - pain can be sneaky, and come back with a vengeance tomorrow. What the surgeon prescribed is based on experience with prior surgeries - there’s a bell curve of post-op pain level and time, that’s used to guide prescribing.

    For example, after one surgery I felt fine and had already been given a strong pain med injection, and figured I’d be fine for a few hours. When my nurse realized my pain med prescription hadn’t been filled yet, she rushed off to get another shot for me, knowing that I’d shortly be in major pain. She’d seen enough of that type surgery to know how it works for most people. I thought I had plenty of time to get it filled.

    The focus of the tracking system (ostensibly) is to expose patterns of abuse…which is (supposedly) more likely from long-term use/prescriptions (months/years) - such as with chronic pain sufferers. It’s more concerned with docs over-prescribing, since they instruct the pharmacy what to give you - you can’t just walk in and say “gimme 30 vicodin”.

  • @[email protected]
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    322 months ago

    I think you’re thinking about this way to hard. Its an anxiety response. No ones going to blacklist you or judge you for taking a medicine you were prescribed by a doctor. They also probably wouldn’t make a record if the pills were destroyed. If they did it certainly wouldn’t be attached to your medical records. They aren’t being counted against your record. Its not a punishment or a test. You had a surgery, and the prescribed treatment for said surgery aftercare is pain meds. Its okay. You aren’t a criminal or suspicious or being judged for anything.

    If you don’t like how they make you feel that’s okay. I personally can’t stand opioids and could manage the pain with Tylenol when I had surgery. But that doesn’t mean its a bad thing to take them. Opioid addiction is generally only a concern after several weeks of constant use, and if you immediately hated them then you’re even less likely to get addicted.

    You are going to be okay no matter what you decide. No one will judge you or think less of you no matter what you do.

  • DessertStorms
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    272 months ago

    A lot of people here saying you’re over thinking things, but as a chronic pain patient, I know exactly how suspicious and damn right shitty some healthcare professionals can be, and how horrible, and guilty, they can make you feel for something completely innocent because they’ve been drilled about “pill seekers” or whatever (but were never drilled anywhere near as hard about prescribing responsibly, only profitably) and don’t care enough to actually look at why you’re taking them.

    I do agree with most of the comments that being flagged by anyone is probably not something that should be concerning you at all, you are prescribed the meds by a doctor, and especially after a procedure that has painful recovery, no one will think twice about it.

    But it is so fucking important for people to see the kind of impact that clamping down on patients (the stress, panic, anxiety, fear, guilt despite having done nothing wrong, and so on) instead of the doctors doing the irresponsible prescribing.

    I hope you manage to calm your concerns, and feel better soon.

  • DoctorButts
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    252 months ago

    I’m not going to say what kind of surgery that was and please don’t ask.

    Ah, so it was butt surgery. Got it.

  • @jeffw
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    They don’t care if you bring them back. They put them in a disposal system and won’t document who you are.

    The only time prescription monitoring comes into play is if you’re filling more than a normal amount. Some states have limits on pain pills or morphine equivalents. Unless you’re popping 10 a day and begging docs for refills, nobody gives a shit.

    Are you afraid of becoming addicted? Or just that they won’t give you pills when you need them?

    • S. G. TallentyreOP
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      42 months ago

      Are you afraid of becoming addicted? Or just that they won’t give you pills when you need them?

      Kinda both, although more so the latter, tbh.

      • @jeffw
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        You could definitely bring them back to a pharmacy. But It might be better to give them to a trusted loved one who will give them to you when they know you need them. Although if you have a doc that wrote the script for you, they’d almost certainly do it again next time, assuming you go through a similar surgery.

        There’s a lot of talk about pain meds, but tbh docs are still willing to give them out. Docs are trained in red flags but anyone looking at your record would see someone who legit needs it.

  • @IsThisAnAI
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    222 months ago

    What the fuck? Nobody is going to give a damn lol. Stop reading shit on the Internet.

  • Chozo
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    222 months ago

    Bro, “the system” doesn’t even catch people who are abusing their prescriptions, they’re not going to “get” you for ten hydrocodones.

  • @JackDark
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    192 months ago

    You’re over analyzing it. These medications are prescribed all the time, especially for surgeries. They’re only concerned if you start filling multiple prescriptions for the same narcotics at different pharmacies. They aren’t going to care if you return the pills back. It’s just going to go into a pile with expired medications to get destroyed. I doubt they would make any record of it. You don’t have to take any painkillers if you don’t feel they are warranted. I didn’t take mine when I had my surgery. Once you have completed recovery, if you want to get rid of the medications, any pharmacy will carry the materials you need to destroy the medication safely. I don’t remember what it’s called offhand, but you can go to any pharmacy and ask for some packets of the stuff that destroys medications, and they’ll just give them to you.

  • @[email protected]
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    142 months ago

    Like everyone else here…your over thinking it.

    That med is barely anything to worry about. Your doctor prescribed it, take it.

    Trust me, you’ll know when you’re on the serious stuff when you have to get a new script every month that makes you go to the doctor just for a refill.

    • VaultBoyNewVegas
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      32 months ago

      I’ve a new medication that I can only get from the hospital. They have to send it out and give me a months supply. I can’t get this one from the Dr. It’s a biologic and used for ulcerative colitis so it’s not an addiction reason.

  • @db2
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    132 months ago

    It’s 5/325, the Tylenol is in there mostly to “prevent abuse”. I say that in quotes because you can separate the two by powdering the pill and putting it in cold water overnight. The Tylenol won’t mix with the water. It’s a pointless addition to the pill.

    As for your concern though, they gave you ten. You’re way over thinking it. If you don’t want any remainder when you’re done most pharmacies have a drop for old meds or will otherwise take them but they don’t care who you are and won’t keep track.

  • Zier
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    132 months ago

    So someone I was caring for recently was on the same meds. And they didn’t like the feeling and were paranoid they would be addicted. After 3 refills they are not addicted and are fine. They no longer need or desire them. However they sounded just like you, freaking out and over analyzing things. Don’t post on the internet when you are under the influence of these. Also, do not make any “life decisions”. Take as needed for pain, allow your system to heal. And write yourself a post-it note that says, “Are you high right now?” And maybe a little Stop sign to remind you to just chill while on these. Everything will be ok.