What is in your medicine cabinet? If you look, chances are you’ll find medications that are expired or that you no longer need.

If there are medications in there that aren’t being used or are expired, why keep them? Expired medications can be ineffective or even toxic. Plus, 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 BC 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, Canadian Mental Health Association (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 accidently ingested.”

That’s why the Division of Family Practice and Canadian Mental Health Association-Vernon & District are partnering to support Vernon’s Unused Medications Return Program.

Canadian Mental Health Association-Vernon & District 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. You can return your medication any day of the year with these easy 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.
Step Four: If you return your 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 $50.00 gift card to the Sprouted Fig. The winner will be announced on CMHA-Vernon’s social media on August 7th .

CMHA Vernon & District will be at the Sunshine Festival on June 15th. Our booth will have more information about the Unused Medicine Return Project. You can also be entered into the draw before anyone else! Swing by the booth, take a picture, and use the hashtag #MedReturn2019 and tag CMHA-Vernon on Facebook (@cmhavernon) or Instagram (@cmhavernon). The winner will be announced on CMHA-Vernon’s social media on August 7th.

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.

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