Ryan Godard and Dianne Usher drop off their old, unused prescriptions with Curtis Omelchuk at Remedy’s Rx in the Sterling Centre. A drop off container will be available at the Sunshine Festival Saturday in downtown Vernon. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Vernon med returns keep kids safe

CMHA collecting unused medications at Vernon Sunshine Festival Saturday

Those pain meds from an old injury, tablets from a vacation years ago and antibiotics you forgot to take could pose a serious risk to youth.

Unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, whether expired or for personal use, are seeing growing abuse from adolescents looking for a “safe” alternative to street drugs.

“A lot of parents leave them lying around when they shouldn’t and kids come along and take them,” said Curtis Omelchuk, Remedy’s Rx pharmacist/owner. “They think it’s safer, cleaner.”

More than seven per cent of students in Grades 7-12 in B.C. admitted to abusing prescription drugs in a Health Canada Survey. According to a 2014 article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “Unused prescription drugs are sometimes brought to ‘pill parties’ (also called ‘pharm’ or ‘Skittles’ parties), where adolescents experiment with pills they select from the pool of medications brought by partygoers. With opioids, in particular, some products contain enough active ingredient in a single tablet to cause death in a naive patient, especially if mixed with other sedatives or alcohol.”

These medications are often taken from a medicine cabinet in their own home or from that of a friend or relative.

See related: Canadian doctor warns parents to lock up medication so teens don’t steal it

Along with this growing and serious problem, expired medications can be ineffective or even toxic.

In an efforts to keep drugs out to hands of youth, as well as out of the landfills and water systems, collection efforts are underway.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Division of Family Practice, and Interior Health are combining efforts to raise awareness of this issue and to support Vernon’s Unused Medications Return Program.

Residents are encouraged to bring down their unused or expired medications on Saturday, June 16 to the Sunshine Festival where the CMHA with Nolan’s Pharmasave will have a booth set up to receive any medications that you no longer need. If you are not able to make it down, all of the Vernon pharmacies participate in a Medications Return Program all year round, so it’s easy to return expired or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or even natural health products free of charge at any time.

See related: Sunshine Fest returns to Vernon streets

“So let’s clean out those medicine cabinets and search through our drawers, and place medications you no longer need in a plastic or paper bag and bring them down, or return them to any pharmacy in town,” said Ryan Godard, CMHA Vernon and district community educator.

All labels on containers should be removed or covered with black felt, and pills should be taken out of the blister packs, if possible.

“With your help, we can keep our community as well as our environment safe.”


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cowboy entertainment returns to O’Keefe Ranch

Cowboy Dinner Show back every Friday in July and August

Spend Father’s Day at the GolfBC Championship

Looking for a last minute plan for spending time with dad?

Kelowna kids take to the sky with COPA event

The Kelowna Flying Club invited youth between the ages of eight and 17 to join them.

Education opportunity of a lifetime for Okanagan Y volunteer

Madeline Bishop receives $10,000 four-year scholarship

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

What’s happening

It’s dad’s weekend so be sure to check out all of the events in your community

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Former Penticton Vee recovering in hospital

Pittsburgh Penguin prospect expected to make full recovery

UPDATE: RCMP investigating overnight incident on Lakeshore Road

Evidence markers noting blood stains on road

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Police say Salmon Arm youth who posted about shooting students no longer a threat

Group which alerted RCMP to tweets says it issued a Code Red, highest level of alert

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

Most Read