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Prescription Misuse

Use Medications As Directed- Always!

It's imperative to always use medication as directed by your doctor. Prescription drug misuse can have serious medical consequences. Increases in prescription drug misuse over the last 15 years are reflected in increased emergency room visits, overdose deaths associated with prescription drugs, and treatment admissions for prescription drug use disorders, the most severe form of which is an addiction.  

The three classes of medication most commonly misused are:

  • Opioids – usually prescribed to treat pain

  • Central Nervous System Depressants – used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders (includes tranquilizers, sedatives, & hypnotics)

  • Stimulants – most often prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)


Learn more:

Medication Misuse

More. Taking more of a medication than is prescribed, or taking the medication more often than instructed.

Not Yours. Taking a medication that does not belong to you, or giving your medication to someone else.

Just Poor. Using medication for a purpose other than it is intended for, often to get high.

What You Can Do

Safe Storage: Keep your medications out of sight and reach of children and guests. Invest in a medication lock box, and keep an inventory of medications in the house, so you know if any go missing. Keep limited amounts of medication on hand to decrease the possibility of overdose or accidental poisoning.

Safe Disposal: If you have old, expired, or unneeded medications in your home, there are appropriate channels to dispose of them. The safest is to bring them to the West Haven Police Department's Medication Drop Box. If the box is unavailable or the lobby is closed, there are safe steps you can take at home to get rid of your medications safely.

  1. Remove the medication from its original container or package and place into a container you can close.

  2. Mix the medications with an unpleasant substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds, without crushing tablets or capsules. Mix with a small amount of water. 

  3. Conceal or remove label and prescription details from prescriptions bottles, vials, and other packaging.

  4. Place contained mixture into the trash.

Do not flush medications down the toilet, as they can have harmful impacts on our drinking water!

How To Help Someone You Love

Do you love someone impacted by an opioid use disorder, or seeking help for yourself? There are resources available to support you, and recovery is possible.

Narcan Training: Narcan (also referred to as Naloxone), is the over dose reversal drug. It is available most often as a nasal spray, and can be obtained at most pharmacies throughout CT without a doctor's prescription with your insurance. West Haven Prevention Council periodically offers Narcan Training to the community, which includes information about opioids and opioid use disorder and instruction on Narcan administration. If you're interested in getting on the list for our next training, please reach out to us via email!

If you need immediate instructions on Narcan use, visit for more information.

Recovery Resources: Are you ready to begin a recovery journey, or need help for someone who is? Call United Way's 211 Line or visit for a list of treatment options available in the state of Connecticut.

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