Prairie North Health Region is encouraging residents to take part in a region-wide medication roundup from November 1-30.
In a news release from the health region, people are being encouraged to gather up unused or expired prescription medications or oral over-the-counter medications, and take the items to their local pharmacy for free, safe disposal.
Disposal of needles, syringes, blood glucose test strips, lancets, or other sharps may also be available at local pharmacies. Check with the pharmacist for the store’s policy on disposal of these items.
The Prairie North’s Medication Roundup coincides with National Addictions Awareness Week and focuses on the potential link between prescription drugs and addictions.
The medication roundup 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 roundup blitz, free medication disposal services are available through pharmacies year-round.
According to the health region, ensuring medications are disposed of properly is a safety issue. Chemical components could end up in the soil or water supply if they are flushed down the sink or toilet, or even if thrown in the garbage.
As well, when medications accumulate in the home there is an increased risk of misuse or abuse by others.
“Opioids are the most commonly abused substance among youth in Canada,” says Tyler Aiken, an addictions counselor with Mental Health and Addiction Services in Meadow Lake. Young people are most likely to have their first experience with prescription drugs recreationally. Sixty-seven per cent of youth indicate they obtained those prescription medications at home.”
According to Prairie North, the best way to ensure 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. Safely disposing of unused medication reduces the likelihood that misuse or poisoning can happen.
Those affected by misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications are being encouraged to contact the PNHR Mental Health and Addiction Services for support at these numbers: Lloydminster 306-820-6250, Meadow Lake 306-236-1580 and North Battleford 306-446-6500.