The Prescription Drop-Off Project hopes to encourage people to drop off their unused or expired medications at local pharmacies rather than just tossing them out.

The Prescription Drop-Off Project hopes to encourage people to drop off their unused or expired medications at local pharmacies rather than just tossing them out.

Returning unused medications helps keep community safe

Prescription Drop-off Project hopes to encourage people to drop off unused or expired medications at pharmacies

What is in your medicine cabinet? Pain medications for an injury sustained long ago, antibiotics that you didn’t finish taking, those tablets you bought for your trip — three years ago? If you look in your medicine cabinet, chances are you’ll find medications that are expired or that you no longer need.

These unused or expired medications may be contributing to a serious and growing problem. In fact, we all need to be aware of the dangers of misuse of prescription drugs and over the counter (OTC) medicine in our community, especially among youth.

According to a Health Canada Survey, more than seven per cent of students in Grades 7 to 12 in B.C. admitted to abusing prescription drugs. These medications are often taken from a medicine cabinet — either in their own home or from that of a friend or relative.

That’s why the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice (SNO), Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), and Interior Health are combining to raise awareness of this issue and to support Vernon’s Unused Medications Return Program.

Oct. 14 and 15 are Vernon’s Unused Medications Return Days. You are encouraged to bring in your unused medications on one of these days to any pharmacy in Vernon.

“The goal is to encourage the public to clean out their households of unused or expired prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter (OTC) medicine and drop them off at their local pharmacy so that these may then be safely and properly destroyed,” said project lead Michelle Sinclair. “People can drop unused medications off any day of the year at any pharmacy, but October 14 and 15 are targeted in order to make everyone aware of this growing problem.”

All the Vernon pharmacies participate in a Medications Return Program, so it’s easy to return expired or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or even natural health products at any time.

If there are medications in your cabinet or cupboard that aren’t being used or are expired, why keep them? Expired medications can be ineffective or even toxic. Plus you run the risk of accidental ingestion by kids or someone in the home accessing them that shouldn’t access them.

Throwing medicines in the trash or flushing them down the toilet is unsafe and can harm the environment.

So search through your medicine cabinet or drawer, place medications no longer needed in a plastic or paper bag and return them to a pharmacist. If possible, all labels on containers should be removed and pills should be taken out of the blister packs.

It’s time to clean out those medicine cabinets, and keep our community as well as our environment safe!