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About 15 million people age 12 or older in the United States used prescription drugs non-medically in the past year, and prescription drugs are abused more often than any other drug, except marijuana and alcohol, according to a national study. Some segments of the population are particularly susceptible to prescription drug misuse based on a study a few years ago by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For example, youths aged 12 to 17, or young adults aged 18 to 25, were more likely to misuse prescription drugs in the past year than adults aged 26 or older.

What’s more, emergency room visits related to medication overdose or drug abuse are on the rise nationwide. Whether you’re a parent, coach, teacher, or community leader, there are myriad resources to help you do your part in curbing medication misuse and drug abuse.

Safe disposal of medications can save lives.

Once you have taken your prescriptions home, remember to keep them out of the sight and reach of children and teenagers, and avoid taking them in front of minors since they tend to mimic adults. Never give your medications to anyone else or take someone else’s medications.

Here are a few organizations that offer practical tools, guidebooks, and free downloads to get you started:

Center for Improving Medication Management

  • Medication safety toolkit for families

Drug Enforcement Administration


National Council on Patient Information and Education


Office of National Drug Control Policy

  • Law enforcement initiatives
  • Resources for public

Partnership for Drug Free Kids

  • Parent toolkit
  • Brochures, e-books, fact sheets, and guides
  • Resources for educators

Poison Control Hotline

  • Poison and drug emergency assistance
  • Pill identifier


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  • National Helpline
  • Teen prescription drug misuse


Using Home Security to Protect Your Prescription Drugs

  • Prevent Your Medication From Being Stolen
  • Dispose of Unneeded Prescriptions
  • Addressing Prescription Theft in Your Teen