Sunday, June 16, 2024

GBPH Launches Campaign To ‘Attack’ Medication Misuse

Grey Bruce Public Health is teaming up with the Owen Sound Attack and Rexall Pharma Plus in Owen Sound on a campaign aimed at promoting the proper disposal of expired and unused medication.

Beginning Saturday, November 18, Grey-Bruce residents who clean out their medicine cabinets and bring their old and no longer needed prescription and over-the-counter medication to Rexall Pharma Plus at 963 2nd Ave. E. will receive a voucher for two free tickets to any regular season Owen Sound Attack Wednesday night home game.

The “Attacking Medication Misuse” campaign will continue until Nov. 25, 2023, or until all free-ticket vouchers are claimed, whichever is sooner.

This campaign is intended to inform and remind residents that the safest way to dispose of prescription pills and other pharmaceuticals – and ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands or impact the environment – is by bringing them to a local pharmacy. All pharmacies accept old or unused medications year-round and ensure they are disposed of properly,” said Monica Blair, Manager of Grey Bruce Public Health’s Harm Reduction Program.

Leaving old medications in medicine cabinets or cupboards can have unintended and potentially serious consequences. Trends suggest rising rates of recreational misuse of prescription drugs by youth, who often obtain these drugs from family medicine cabinets and friends.

The most recent Ontario Student Drug Use and Mental Health Survey, conducted in 2021, found that:

  • The percentage of students who used a prescription opioid without a prescription in the past year jumped from 11% in 2019 to 12.7% in 2021;
  • One in eight students reported using any prescription drug without a prescription within the past year;
  • Nearly 4% of students reported using over-the-counter cold or cough medicine in the past year “to get high.”

In addition, adults and seniors may inadvertently take expired prescription medications if these drugs are not promptly removed from medicine cabinets and cupboards. This can cause dangerous interactions with other medications.

Improperly discarded pharmaceuticals can also end up in landfills and waterways, which can be harmful to the environment and, potentially, impact human and animal health.

While the ‘Attacking Medication Misuse’ campaign will run for only a limited time, we hope the message resonates in the community – that properly disposing of unused and expired medication benefits both human and environmental health and has the potential to save lives,” Blair says.

People who participate in the campaign will be asked to fill out a form at Rexall Pharma Plus to indicate what medication they are returning. This data will be collected by Public Health for reporting purposes.

 

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