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Public Urged to Join in Safe Disposal of Unused Medications

November 14, 2016

Residents throughout Prairie North Health Region (PNHR) have the opportunity once again to participate in a Region-wide Medication Round-up. The campaign began Monday, November 14 coinciding with National Addictions Awareness Week, to help focus on the potential link between prescription drugs and addictions.

Kim Tradewell, Population Health Promotion Coordinator with PNHR, encourages residents to gather up any unused or expired prescription medications, or oral over-the-counter medications, and take them to the local pharmacy for free, safe disposal.

“It's a matter of safety,” Tradewell said. “When medications accumulate in the home, there is an increased risk of misuse or abuse of them.”

Unsafe storage of medications in the home is one of the ways that prescription medications can be diverted from their intended medical purpose. The person for whom the medication was prescribed may be unaware that someone else is using their medications, especially if that person is not currently taking their medication.

“The best way to ensure that medications are not accidentally ingested, or do not fall into the hands of people who could abuse them, is to take your medications as prescribed and, if you don't finish your medications, to properly dispose of them,” stated Tradewell.

The same is true of over-the-counter medications. Either over-the-counter or prescription medications can lead to poisonings, addictions, or other harms. While people cannot necessarily avoid being prescribed medications that could be harmful when not taken as prescribed, safely disposing of unused medication is one way to help reduce the likelihood that misuse or poisoning can happen.

Tradewell adds that on a broader scale, when prescription or over-the-counter medication is thrown into the garbage, or flushed down the sink or toilet, the chemical components can wind up in the soil or water supply. “For the safety of the public and the environment, the best way to get rid of unused medications is to return them to a pharmacy for safe disposal,” she said.

The Medication Round-up is an initiative of PNHR's Population Health Promotion Unit, in collaboration with Mental Health and Addiction Services in Prairie North and pharmacies in communities across the Region. In addition to the November medication round-up blitz, free medication disposal services are available through pharmacies year-round.

For more information about safe disposal of medications, speak with your local pharmacist or health care providers.

If you or someone you know is being affected by misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications, you are encouraged to contact PNHR Mental Health and Addiction Services for support:

  • Lloydminster 306-820-6250
  • Meadow Lake 306-236-1580
  • North Battleford 306-446-6500

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For a print-friendly version of the news release, click here.

MEDIA:
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Linda Lewis, PNHR Communications Officer
306-446-6625

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