Reducing the risk of addiction

Darrell Cole
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Removing unused, expired medication from the home

Police and pharmacy representatives are again hosting a prescription drop-off day on Saturday in an effort to remove expired and unused prescription medication from the home.

Jennifer Girouard, a pharmacy technician at Lawton’s Drugs, helps Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department hang a prescription drop-off day poster in preparation for Saturday’s event at the former Amherst town hall on Ratchford Street.

AMHERST – Addiction can sometimes start in the medicine cabinet.

That’s why police and pharmacy representatives are joining together to collect unused or expired prescription medication on Saturday at the former Amherst town hall building on Ratchford Street between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“What happens sometimes is someone may have stopped taking a medication and then forgotten about it. Later, depending on what it is, there’s the potential someone could steal it and sell it or begin using it themselves,” Const. Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department said. “In other cases, someone may have inadvertently take expired medication.”

The initiative will kick off local Police Week activities and is part of National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day. The goal of the program is to reduce the unused and expired medications that are in people’s homes by having them safely disposed of.

Wood said participants can bring whatever medications they have to the former town hall and have them disposed of. While they ask that labels be blacked out, Wood said those labels that aren’t blacked out will be in order to protect the identity of those who drop off medication for disposal.

Lawton’s Drugs has agreed to dispose of the medications.

Wood said many people really don’t know what to do with old or expired medication. While some are tempted to simply flush them, Wood said doing so can be harmful to the environment.

The best way to dispose of this medication is by taking it back to the pharmacy.

The drop-off day will also accept things like cough medicine, Gravol and Tylenol that’s bought over the counter.

“For some this unused medication is a gateway to addiction,” Wood said. “One of the leading causes of addiction among young people is using their parents’ or grandparents’ medication.”

Wood said there is a direct link between prescription drug abuse and criminal activity and he believes this initiative will help remove some opiods from the streets.

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

In 2010, one in five Canadians ages 15 and over said they used opiod pain relievers in the previous year with 1.1 per cent saying they did so to get high, while in 2009 20 per cent of students in grades seven to 12 said they used at least one prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell


Organizations: Amherst Police Department

Geographic location: Ratchford Street

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