Help Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

Did You Know?

  • Prescription drug abuse factors into the deaths of over 300 Montanans each year, making it 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined.
  • Montana ranks third in the nation for teen abuse of prescription pain relievers. 
  • More than half of youths say that prescription drugs are easier to get than other illicit substances.

These alarming statistics highlight importance of doing what we can to fight what the Attorney General’s Office calls an “invisible epidemic.”

There are several things you can do to make sure that your prescription drugs don’t fall into the wrong hands.

First, keep your medications in a locked cabinet, if possible. Make sure that they are kept out of reach of children, especially if you cannot lock them up. It’s also a good idea to keep a medication log to help you keep track of the number of pills of you have; regularly check to ensure that none are missing. One sad truth about prescription drug abuse is that you never can tell who may be addicted. Be mindful of guests, especially strangers, that enter your home. Keep medications and prescription bottles out of sight. Never give unused or leftover medications to a friend or family member for use, even if they have the same or a similar illness; medications should be taken only by the person they are prescribed to.

Leftover and unwanted medications sitting in medicine cabinets contribute to the risk of prescription drug abuse and unintentional poisoning. Once you no longer have need for your prescription drugs, dispose of them properly.

Great Falls has a permanent prescription drug drop box located at the Montana Highway Patrol District Office at 812 14th Street South. This box is secure, and you can drop off your prescription drugs here anytime for no cost. Sharps/needles, chemo/radioactive drugs or other non-pharmaceutical waste cannot be dropped here, and it is encouraged that you remove or blackout any personal information on your prescription containers.

If you are unable to make it to the permanent drop box, the Office of National Drug Control Policy recommends the following steps for disposing of prescription drugs:

  • Take medication out of their original containers.
  • Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  • Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub or into a sealable bag.
  • Conceal or remove any personal information, including the prescription number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  • Place the sealed container with the mixture and the empty drug containers in the trash.

You should not flush unused medication down the toilet or save it for later use.