Safe storage of opioid pain relievers among adults living in households with children

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OBJECTIVES: To describe safe storage practices and beliefs among adults who have used a prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR) in the past year; to compare practices and beliefs among those living with younger (<7 years) versus older children (7-17 years). METHODS: A survey was administered to a nationally representative sample of adults reporting OPR use in the previous 12 months and who had children <18 years old living with them. We used Health Belief Model-derived items to measure beliefs. Safe storage was defined as locked or latched for younger children and as locked for older children. Regression models examined the association between beliefs and safe storage practices. RESULTS: Among 681 adults who completed our survey and reported having children in their home, safe storage was reported by 32.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.4-43.8) of those with only young children, 11.7% (95% CI, 7.2-16.2) among those with only older children, and 29.0% (95% CI, 18.3-39.8) among those with children in both age groups. Among those asked to answer survey questions thinking about only their oldest child, the odds of reporting safe storage decreased by half as perceived barriers increased (0.505; 95% CI, 0.369-0.692), increased twofold as efficacy increased (2.112; 95% CI, 1.390-3.210), and increased (1.728; 95% CI, 1.374-2.174) as worry increased. CONCLUSIONS: OPRs are stored unsafely in many households with children. Educational messages should address perceived barriers related to safe storage while emphasizing how it may reduce OPR access among children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20162161
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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