Opioids for Pain: Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Sure.

Last Updated: May 16, 2016


Prescription opioid medications serve an effective role in pain management, but growing abuse of these drugs has reached epidemic proportions in Pennsylvania. To fight back, the Pennsylvania Medical Society has created a public advocacy program called: Opioids for Pain: Be smart. Be safe. Be sure.

This program has several simple goals:

  • Reduce opioid abuse and overdoses
  • Educate patients about the safe use of opioids and the 
warning signs of addiction
  • Help physicians prescribe opioid drugs with more precision and less potential for abuse

The key points of the Opioids for Pain program:

  1. Be smart — Patients should know the risks of opioid use when they receive a prescription. No one plans on becoming an addict, but many do by ignoring dosage limits and frequency.
  2. Be safe — Patients should be instructed on how to use opioids for moderate to severe pain, and warned not to save extras or give them to friends or relatives. Physicians are encouraged to write smaller prescriptions with fewer refills. The PAMED website has a link to find where to safely dispose of leftover medications.
  3. Be sure — Patients should be told of the early signs of addiction or abuse and how to protect themselves from addiction, including how to avoid it and where to turn if they feel they may have developed a problem.
For Lawmakers

Educate citizens in your district through these resources. PAMED has created posters for you to distribute at events and ready-made stories and images to add to your newsletter, website and social media pages.

Download Lawmaker Resources


For Physicians

Learn five ways you can take the lead in addressing opioid abuse and misuse with your patients. PAMED has also created printable tear-off sheets and waiting room posters for physicians to use.

Download Physician Resources


For Patients

Patients need to work with their physicians to be smart, safe and sure about opioid use. PAMED resources include seven questions patients should ask their physician as well as a list of where they can drop off unused medications.

Download Patient Resources



Latest News

Programs Treat Opioid Addiction As Illness, Not Crime (Pittsburgh Trib Live)

For News Media


Download copy of Opioids for Pain: Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Sure logo for use in your publication or website



Opioid Crisis: Scrap Pain as 5th Vital Sign?
(MedPage Today)
In Pennsylvania's Fight Against Opioid Abuse, Drug Monitoring Database Could Be a Game-Changer (PAMED)
Here's what Pa. orthopedists are doing to fight opioid abuse (PennLive)
Heroin, opioid crisis: State making progress
(Hanover Evening Sun)



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