National Prescription Drug Drop-off Day
In support of the fourth annual National Prescription Drug Drop-off Day on Saturday, May 21, 2016, the Calgary Police Service and Alberta Health Services are encouraging all patients to turn in any unused or expired medication to pharmacies.
“Drug abuse has substantial negative impact on our community,” says Calgary Police Service Staff Sergeant Martin Schiavetta. “To reduce the availability of these harmful drugs to our children and loved ones, it is important that we properly dispose of any medications that are no longer in use.”
“Whether intentional or accidental, ingestion of leftover prescription drugs is a very real risk to the health of Albertans,” says Dr. Mark Yarema – Medical Director, Poison and Drug Information Service, and Chief of the Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Alberta Health Services. “The good news is: it’s one we can all take an easy step to address. We encourage you to make the prescription drop-off a part of your household routine.”
Expired medication is considered hazardous waste and should not be disposed of in the garbage, flushed down the toilet, or poured down drains. Improper disposal of prescription medication impacts our environment. Pharmacists recommend cleaning out medicine cabinets once a year, however, prescription drop off can occur at any time of the year, and at any pharmacy, such as London Drugs.
“Everyone has a role to play in reducing the harms of prescription drugs on individuals, families, Calgary communities and the environment. Cleaning out your medicine cabinet and safely disposing of unused and expired medications at the pharmacy is a simple way to help,” says Jason Chan-Remillard, Pharmacy Manager at London Drugs.
Remillard offers the following tips for cleaning out your medicine cabinet this Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day:
- Check expiration dates and remove products that are expired.
Virtually every medication – from vitamins, to prescription medications, to over-the-counter products – have expiry dates. Keep in mind that some products can expire before the date on the label once opened. When in doubt, ask a pharmacist.
- Remove any medication not in its original container.
If you can’t remember what a medication is for or who it was for, get rid of it. As much as possible, keep your medication in its original packaging. Mixing different medications in the same container or storing them outside of their original packaging increases the likelihood of accidental overdose or poisonings.
- Place unwanted and expired drugs in a clear plastic bag.
Medications in blister packs and forms of liquid and cream medications can also be included in the plastic bag.
- Drop off your unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications at the pharmacy.
These medications will be safely incinerated, preventing them from being abused, entering landfills or the sewer system. London Drugs also recycles medication bottles, lids and medication vials. Please be sure to remove personal information by taking off the label or by using a marker to black out personal information.
For more information and statistics on the impact of prescription drug abuse, please go to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police press release or to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse “National Prescription Drug Drop-off Day” website. For information on household drug and poison risks, visit www.ahs.ca/padis or call PADIS, 24/7, at 1.800.332.1414.
More information about medication disposal at London Drugs can be found here.