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

Crash backs up traffic in Lake Country

It happened at around 7 a.m.

Community will benefit from race, says Dyas

Dyas ran against a friend and made him a rival

The Valley Votes: Your election results

The results are in from the 2018 municipal election.

Lake Country’s only golf course to close Nov. 1

Aspen Grove Golf Course’s season has come to an end

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

Find me my furever home

Frankie is available for adoption from the Kelowna BC SPCA

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

GUEST COLUMN: B.C.’s proportional representation vote is dishonest, misleading

Veteran of 2005 Citizens’ Assembly urges rejection of new voting systems

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

Most Read