Substance Use & Prevention

Prescription Drugs

It may surprise many to learn that substance abuse often begins with misusing prescription drugs. Prescription drug misuse is the use of a medication without a prescription, in a way other than prescribed, or for the experience or feelings elicited.

Prescription drugs that are commonly misused or abused include opioid pain medications, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet. Stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, and sedatives, such as Xanax and Valium and Ativan, are also commonly abused prescriptions. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has created several videos in collaboration with local families.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse - of both prescription drugs and illicit drugs - is an ongoing public health concern in Lowell, as it is throughout the country. The Lowell Public Health division works with a wide network of health, safety and educational organizations throughout the city and the region to address the issues around substance abuse.

Our goals are to:
  • Provide credible and accurate information.
  • Provide outreach education.
  • Prevent overdose and death.
  • Connect users and families with treatment options.
  • Work to ensure adequate treatment options to meet the needs of the community.
  • Work to effect changes to social norms.
  • Promote understanding of drug addiction as a disease.
  • Provide for proper disposal of unwanted medications and sharps (needles).
The City of Lowell is working with Billerica, Dracut, Tewksbury, Chelmsford, Westford, and Wilmington on a unique regional approach to address the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose. This initiative is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative.


Please visit Drug Free Greater Lowell for substance abuse information including resources.

Learn more about Sharps (Needles) Disposal.
  1. Dealing With Opioids in Our Community

    Opioids include common pain medications (e.g., Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.) and illegal drugs (e.g., Heroin), which are often abused and have become significant problems nationally, as well as in our own community.

  2. Narcan Information

    Learn more about Narcan including what to do in the event of an overdose and who to contact for an at-risk person.

  3. Substance Abuse Video Library

    View videos about Substance Abuse including the Face of Addiction, No Me - Not My child, Addiction Resources, and more.

  4. Unwanted Medication Disposal

    The number 1 place teens say they start experimenting with drugs is from his or her medicine cabinet or the cabinet of a friend. The City of Lowell now has a secured unwanted medication drop off kiosk located at the Lowell Police Department.