Document Type



Doctor of Nursing Practice



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Cathy Koetting DNP, APRN, CPNP, PMHS, FNP-C (college of nursing)


Alicia Hutchings PhD, RN, CNE

Anne LaBarge MSN, APRN, CPNP


Problem The opioid epidemic is a continuing public health threat, growing amongst the pediatric population. Contributing to the issue are their accessibility within the community, and lack of education on safe storage and disposal of opioids.

Methods For this quality improvement (QI) project, a descriptive observational study design was used to identify the opioid storage and disposal habits of patients and their caregivers at home. The participant and caregiver dyads were shown a brief opioid educational video pre-operatively and were followed up with via emailed survey two weeks post-operatively. The survey contained questions pertaining to disposal and storage habits of opioids, in addition to participant demographics.

Results Seventy-six dyads met eligibility criteria and participated in the project. Of the 76 participants, nearly 20% (n=15) filled out the survey. Ninety-three percent of respondents keep their opioids secured and out of sight, and nearly 87% said they were disposing of extra opioids. One hundred percent of respondents correctly identified locations to appropriately dispose of opioids. Of note only 20% monitor and count their number of opioid pills and 27% of homes reported others having access to their opioid medication.

Implications for Practice Overall, the results of the QI project illustrated some promising results in regard to safe storage and opioid disposal habits within the community. Additionally, due to the ease of implementing the video-based education, health care settings should consider adopting this type of media for a number of reasons including cost and patient benefit.