Prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers (hydrocodone, oxycodone), sedatives (Xanax, Atavan), and stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin) can be habit-forming (addictive).  They can be the gateway to illegal drug use when a patient becomes dependent on (addicted to) the medication and no longer has access to it.


75% of prescription drug overdoses involve painkillers. The chart below shows where people who abuse painkillers obtain the drug. Note that 60% of the time the source is a friend or family member - either with or without permission.


(Source:, Policy Impact: Prescription Painkiller Overdoses)

"Many teens are unaware of the fact that most heroin abusers started using prescription opioids before becoming addicted to the drug. Dependence can really sneak up on you."  (Source:

Prescriptions are the drugs most often implicated in overdose. Each day, 44 people in the US die from overdose of prescription painkillers.


The most common drugs involved in prescription overdose deaths include:

  • Hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin)

  • Oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin)

  • Oxymorphone (e.g., Opana)

  • Methadone (especially when prescribed for pain)


More information on prescription drug overdose can be found at the "source" link below.


You can safely dispose of unused and/or outdated prescription drugs at designated sites across the area. Click here for Westmoreland Prescription Drug Take-Back Sites.  For more information contact the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc.724-684-9000 ext. 4446


Source: - Prescription Drug Overdose

Prescription Drug Take-Back boxes can be found at various locations including Penn Township, Trafford, Irwin, Murrysville, and Delmont.

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