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).


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

Learn more about Sharps (Needles) Disposal.