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Approximately 70% of individuals who misuse prescription medications get them from family and friends. To decrease the risk of misuse, it is important to understand how to properly store and dispose of unused or expired prescription medication. Read the specific disposal instructions that came with your medication. If used improperly, prescription medications can be dangerous. Though most people take medicines as prescribed by their doctors, an estimated 20% of people in the United States have misused prescription medication. Often, the initial decision to misuse these substances is based on misinformation. Adults and youth alike think that abusing prescription drugs is safer than abusing illicit drugs. In fact, prescription drugs can have dangerous short and long- term health consequences when used incorrectly or by someone other than for whom they were intended.

Proper use of medications keeps you safe and sets an important example for children and teens in your home. Here are some helpful rules:
• When prescribed a new medication, ensure that your doctor is aware of all other medications you take; mixing certain prescriptions can be dangerous.
• Take medicines exactly as you were instructed by your doctor.
• Read the label.
• Don’t skip doses.
• Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you have any questions.


• Prescription medications should always be stored out of sight and reach of children, teens and anyone who might misuse them.
• Keep all prescription drugs in their original containers.
• Make sure medication is properly labeled so that you can easily identify containers contents.
• Monitor the use of prescription medications by maintaining a Medicine Inventory Card to help you track the number of pills in each bottle.
• Store medications in a safe or in a secure cabinet.

Our community partner, PEER Services in Evanston, will provide a prescription medication lock box to those in need and individuals that have children or frequently have children in the house. 


Whenever possible, take advantage of community medication collections that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal.