Campaign keeps streets clean

Local pharmacies have launched a third National Medicine Take-Back Campaign following record amount of drugs recuperated in 2014

Following a record amount of unused and expired drug recuperation in 2014, local pharmacies have launched a third National Medicine Take-Back Campaign.

The campaign with Shoppers Drug Mart and the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada (PDFC) is underway until December 2015, including a new partnership with Loblaw Pharmacy that will increase the number of participating pharmacies to 1,800 nationwide.

The goal of the National Medicine Take-Back Campaign is to encourage Canadians to clean out their households of unused and expired prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, and to drop them off at their local pharmacy.

This year’s campaign theme, Keep Your Drugs off the Streets, is supported by highly compelling advertising aimed at raising parents’ awareness of the dangers of misuse of prescription drugs and OTC medicine by teenagers. The campaign can be viewed at and also aims to ensure safe use of medicine and to promote environmentally-friendly drug disposal.

Last year, the campaign resulted in Canadians dropping off a record amount of unused and expired drugs at their local pharmacy – ensuring that these drugs are not abused by our kids.

The results were extraordinary: in 2014, 390 tons of medicine was recuperated at Shoppers Drug Mart – over two times the amount collected in the previous year.

“We are very thankful to Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw Pharmacy for their high level of commitment to helping us rid households of medicine that can be abused by teens to get high. We also salute over 40 media partners who have provided the partnership with approximately $30 million in free advertising time and space over the past two years,” said Marc Paris, Executive Director of PDFC.

In addition to last year’s convincing results, a study commissioned by the PDFC noted an evolution in Canadians’ attitude towards drugs since 2013. Two-thirds of parents exposed to the campaign said they had spoken specifically to their kids about the risk of misusing prescription drugs to get high, compared to 40 per cent of parents who hadn’t been exposed to the campaign. Over 80 per cent of Canadian parents know they can return unused or expired medicine to their pharmacy.

“The devastating effects of addiction to prescription drugs are being felt by many families and  communities in every region of the country,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health. “By taking unused prescription drugs back to your local pharmacy, you are eliminating a key source of access for many Canadian youth. Working together, we can help reduce the abuse of these substances and encourage all Canadians to lead healthier, drug-free lives.”