Surgical Patient Compliance With Healthcare Facility-Provided In-home Opioid Disposal Products: A Systematic Review

J Nurs Adm. 2022 Jan 1;52(1):35-41. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000001100.


Objective: The aim of this study was to review the literature regarding the use of an in-home opioid disposal product on unused opioids after surgery.

Background: The opioid epidemic in the United States is a major cause of concern for healthcare facilities. The misuse and diversion of retained opioids after a surgical procedure continues to contribute to this problem.

Methods: A comprehensive search of the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, OVID, and PubMed databases with keywords including opioid, analgesics, narcotics, medical waste disposal, medical disposal, refuse disposal, and opioid disposal resulted in 286 articles. Articles were screened based on strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: Eight studies determined that an in-home opioid disposal product provided by a healthcare facility produced rates of opioid disposal between 19% and 71%.

Conclusions: The provision of an in-home opioid disposal product by a healthcare facility is likely to increase the disposal of unused opioid medications in the postoperative surgical patient population.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / supply & distribution
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Controlled Substances / standards*
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Humans
  • Outpatients*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / prevention & control*
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Controlled Substances