Naaz Grewal, CMHA Vernon & District Community Educator is coordinating the medicine return project. (Contributed)

July is ‘Unused Medication Return Month’

CMHA partners with Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice for Medicine Return Project

If you take a look in your medicine cabinet, chances are you’ll find medications that are expired or no longer needed.

Expired medications can be ineffective or even toxic. There is the risk of accidental ingestion by kids or someone in the home accessing them that shouldn’t. According to a Health Canada Survey, more than seven per cent of students in grades 7-12 in B.C. admitted to abusing prescription drugs. These medications are often taken from a medicine cabinet – either in their own home or from that of a friend or relative.

“We sometimes forget what we have in our medicine cabinets,” said Naaz Grewal, CMHA Vernon & District Community Educator. “Checking and disposing of medication properly is a way to make sure it doesn’t get into the hands of our children and accidentally ingested.”

That’s why the Division of Family Practice and CMHA Vernon & District are partnering to support Vernon’s Unused Medications Return Program.

CMHA will be running a campaign through the month of July, encouraging the Vernon community to return medications safely to any local pharmacy. All Vernon pharmacies participate in a Medications Return Program, so it’s easy to return expired or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or even natural health products at any time.

Though this campaign focuses on July, residents can return medication any day of the year with these steps:

  • Step One: Check for any unused and expired medications around your household.
  • Step Two: Empty all pills into a clear bag or container, but remember to keep liquids, creams and inhalers in their original packaging. All labels on containers should be removed and recycled and pills should be taken out of the blister packs, if possible.
  • Step Three: Drop them off at any local pharmacy

If you return medication through the month of July, you are eligible to enter into a draw. Simply take a picture while returning your medication, use the hashtag #MedReturn2019 and tag CMHA-Vernon on Facebook (@cmhavernon) or Instagram(@cmhavernon) to be entered into a draw for a $50 gift card to the Sprouted Fig. The winner will be announced on CMHA-Vernon’s social media on Aug. 7.

When you drop off your medications, you’ll not only ensure they’re disposed of properly, you’ll also keep them out of the wrong hands, preventing abuse or accidental ingestion, and protect our environment in the process.

To learn more about the Canadian Mental Association Vernon Branch or to make a donation to improve mental health in our community, visit the CMHA website at www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca or call 250-542-3114.

Related: CMHA adds texting to crisis line

Related: CMHA Vernon mixing it up for Mental Health Week

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