Preventing addiction by disposing old medication

Darrell Cole
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Police, Lawton’s teaming up for prescription drop-off day

Jennifer Girouard of Lawton’s Drugs and Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department look over plans for the first prescription drop-off day planned for the former Amherst town hall on Ratchford Street on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

AMHERST – The Amherst Police Department is joining forces with Lawton’s Drugs to collect unused or expired prescription medication on Saturday.

Const. Tom Wood, the police department’s community policing officer, will be joined by pharmacy technician Jennifer Girouard of Lawton’s in collecting the expired or unused medications between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the old town hall building on Ratchford Street.

The initiative is part of National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day. The goal of the program is to reduce the unused and expired prescription medications that are in people’s homes by offering a safe and convenient way of disposal.

“One of the leading causes of addiction among young people is using their parents’ or grandparents’ medication,” Wood said. “The abuse and misuse of pharmaceutical drugs is a major concern among police and from a public health perspective. There is a direct correlation between prescription drug abuse and criminal activity. This initiative will help reduce the number of prescription drugs such as opioids, on our streets.”

Statistics show that three-quarters of youth that misuse prescription drugs get them from the home.

In 2010, one in five Canadians ages 15 and over reported the use of opioid pain relievers in the last year with 1.1 per cent saying this use was to get high. Recreational use seems to be most prevalent among young. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in 2009, 20 per cent of students in grades seven to 12 reported using at least one prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription..

Wood said statistics also show many of these drugs are no longer being used by the patient and should have been destroyed.

Girouard said a lot of people take their old or expired medication back to the pharmacy for disposal, while others flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.

“Saying that, there are still some medicine cabinets with expired medication in them,” she said. “This is an excellent opportunity to clean out those medicine cabinets and safely dispose what is old or expired.”

Girouard said the program will also accept over the counter medication such as Gravol and Tylenol.

She said all labels from the collected medication will be blacked out so there’s no risk of personal information being shared.

Wood thanked Lawton’s for supporting the Amherst effort by providing Girouard and the containers that will be used to dispose of the medication.

The drop-off event is also part of Police Week 2013.

Events are also planned for Wright’s Pharmasave in Parrsboro and O’Brien’s Pharmachoice in Pugwash.



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Recent comments

  • Cynthia McCarthy
    May 09, 2013 - 10:02

    It must be an oversight, but the article makes it sound as if disposal of medications "down the toilet or in the garbage" is as safe as returning them to a pharmacy. In fact, medications should NEVER be flushed down the sink or toilet or put out with garbage. We do not want the chemical components in medication to be added to our water supply or soil. This collection day is a welcome step for environmental reasons as well as for addiction prevention.