Prescription Drug Misuse, Storage and Disposal

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.

Click this link for facts and information regarding prescription medication misuse.


• 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. PEER Services

Whenever possible, take advantage of community medication collections that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. The following links offer several disposal options:

Evanston Police Department – In the lobby at 1454 Elmwood Ave in Evanston. Prescription medication drop box details:

City of Evanston Fire Department – Dispose of Needles and Sharps at 909 Lake St. in Evanston (needles and Sharps must always be sealed in a container for disposal).

City of Evanston – Information on how to dispose of needles and thermometers:

Walgreens Safe Medication Disposal Program – Locate a Walgreens in your area (most 24 hour pharmacies offer a medication drop off kiosk, it’s best to contact your local Walgreens for details):

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago – Unwanted medicine and household hazardous waste. 

Access Our Prescription Drug Brochure

Approximately 70% of individuals who misuse prescription medications. Here is a reason that prescription drugs are intended to be taken under a doctor: if used improperly, they can be dangerous.  Read more about prescription drug use and misuse and proper storage and disposal to keep these dangerous drugs out of the hands of our children and youth:

Prescription Drug Brochure