Prescription Drugs and Misuse

When used properly and under the guidance of a medical professional, medicines do great things — curing infections, preventing chronic diseases and easing pain, for example. Because they are so highly addictive and easily misused, our nation is facing a major public health threat from opioid-involved drugs.

According to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services statistics, more than 900 individuals died in 2016 as a result of opiate drug and heroin overdoses. In addition to a shocking spike in deaths over the last decade, communities are also impacted emotionally and economically.


Preventing Addiction and Overdose

Prescription opioid drugs are often prescribed by medical professionals following surgery, injury or to manage certain health conditions. However, these drugs derived from the opium poppy are highly addictive and individuals can develop a tolerance to their effectiveness, which sometimes leads to over-use or misuse. Here are some suggestions to help reduce risks for misuse:

  • Talk with your medical provider about alternative treatment options
  • Remain in contact with your prescribing health provider to manage your treatment and alert him/her to any concerns
  • Never take medications in greater amounts or more often than prescribed to you. Do not share your prescription or your medication with others.
  • Store prescription medications in a secure place, out of reach of others. Safely dispose of unwanted or expired medications.
  • Be aware of side effects and signs of dependence for these medications (PDF)

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

In September 2016, the St. Charles County Council voted unanimously to participate in the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Comprised of a collection of cities and counties across Missouri, the PDMP monitors the prescription and dispensing of schedule II-IV controlled substances to help prevent drug abuse and misuse.

Thousands of medical professionals — such as doctors, pharmacists, dentists, orthodontists, and others that prescribe or dispense medications — are registered contributors to the program. Aggregate and de-identified data from this program is reported quarterly.

Disposing of Unwanted or Expired Medications

Although beneficial when used the way they’re intended, medications can be harmful to people and animals when they’re used by someone other than for whom they were prescribed, or if they’ve gone beyond their expiration date.

If you have expired or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter drugs, you can safely dispose of them through a collection kiosk in the lobby of the Police Department (101 Sheriff Dierker Court in O’Fallon) or at other locations in our community. For small quantities of unwanted medications, you can obtain disposal containers that may be tossed in your home garbage.

Community Resources