Kathleen L Egan, Melissa J Cox, Donald W Helme, Jeffrey Todd Jackson, Mahdi Sesay, Inara Valliani, Alice R Richman

Development and Evaluation of Messages to Facilitate Secure Storage and Disposal of Prescribed Opioid Medication

Background: Secure storage and disposal is a critical strategy to reduce prescription opioid misuse. We sought to develop effective messages to promote secure storage and disposal of unused opioid medications that can be used in interventions designed to reduce diversion of opioid medications for nonmedical use. Methods: We used a mixed-method design to develop and evaluate messages. First, we pretested 34 messages in focus group discussions (FGDs; n = 12 FGDs, n = 2-5 participants per FGD; 37 total participants). Then, we tested the 12 most salient messages in an online survey with a nationally representative Qualtrics® panel (n = 1520 participants). A pretest–posttest design was conducted to assess change in beliefs about storage and disposal of opioid medication following message exposure. Results: All 12 messages favorably influenced participants’ perceptions related to concerns and risks of retaining unused opioid medications and the importance of and self-efficacy in securely storing and disposing of unused opioid medications. Storage and disposal messages that included the sentence—“Your prescription can become someone else’s addiction.”—outperformed other messages in encouraging people to safely store or dispose of opioid medication. Conclusions: This study informs the development of a universal text message intervention using multimodal feedback from the target population that the intervention seeks to serve. The next step is to conduct a randomized controlled trial to assess efficacy of the intervention.

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