Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most commonly abused illicit drugs by high school seniors.  

In western Placer County:

  • 10% of 11th graders used a prescription drug without a doctor’s order in the last 30 days.
  • Prescription drug usage without a physician’s order doubles from 9th grade (10%) to 11th and 12th grade (20%).
  • 60% of 9th graders and 58% of 11th graders feel they are less likely to get caught using prescription drugs compared with other drugs.
  • Teens’ primary sources for prescription drugs are home, parties, and friends.
    (source: CPY Surveys of 7,715 Placer County teens)

You can help prevent prescription drug abuse.
Secure, Monitor & Dispose of unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medication.

ΜONITOR all medications by keeping track of pill counts

ENSURE medications are safely secured to prevent access and abuse

DISPOSE of unused medication at approved locations

SHARE this information with family and friends

Here’s how to secure, monitor & dispose:


  • Take prescription medications out of the medicine cabinet and secure them in a locked or hard-to-access cabinet, box, or other similarly safe location.
  • Store your pills in secure bottles like those manufactured by The Locking Cap (www.thelockingcap.com).
  • Tell relatives, especially grandparents, to lock their medications or keep them in a safe place.
  • Talk to the parents of your teenager’s friends. Encourage them to secure their prescriptions.


  • Keep a list of the medication in your possession and routinely update the pill count of each.
  • Track your family’s refills. Needing to refill a medication more often than expected could indicate a problem.
  • If your teen has been prescribed a drug, be sure you control the medication and monitor dosages and refills.
  • Make sure your friends and relatives—especially grandparents—are also aware of the risks. Encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets.
  • If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of helping safeguard their medications


  • Review the list of prescription and over-the-counter drugs in your possession, noting any expired or out-of-use medication and use the following resources for safe and easy disposal.
  • Attend community medication take-back events. Call or e-mail for locations and dates at (530) 889-7238 or www.coalitionforplaceryouth.org
  • Discard expired or unused prescription and over-the-counter medication at your local hazardous waste collection site: