TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart and parent Loblaw Cos. gathered 620 tons of expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicine in their third National Medicine Take-Back Campaign.
The Canadian food and drug chains said Thursday that the 2015 campaign, which ran from July to December and was done in tandem with the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada, set a record amount for collection. Previously, the 2014 take-back drive was the record holder, with 390 ton of expired drugs dropped off at Shoppers Drug Mart locations.
Each year, the National Medicine Take-Back Campaign urged Canadians to remove expired prescription and OTC medications from their medicine cabinets and bring them to any of the 1,800 pharmacies participating nationwide for safe disposal.
“I want to thank the thousands of Canadians who answered the call and returned their unused and expired medications to Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw pharmacies for safe and environmentally friendly disposal,” Shoppers Drug Mart president Mike Motz said in a statement. “As part of our commitment to promoting safe medicine use and children’s health, we are proud to work with the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada.”
The theme of the 2015 campaign, “Keep Your Drugs off the Streets,” highlighted the misuse of prescription drugs and OTC medicines by teens and focused on how to keep these medications out of the hands of youth and promote best practices of medication usage and disposal.
Sixty-one percent of parents exposed to the campaign said they had spoken to their children about the risk of misusing prescription drugs to get high, compared with 42% of parents who hadn’t been exposed to the campaign. As a result, 61% of children think that misusing prescription drugs to get high is a very risky practice, according to Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw.
They noted that trough the effort they aim to spur behavioral changes in Canadians in terms of being proactive in the disposal of expired medications and doing so by environmentally friendly means.
“The devastating effects of addiction to prescription drugs are being felt by many families and communities in every region of the country,” stated Marc Paris, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada. “By taking unused prescription drugs back to your local pharmacy, you are eliminating a key source of access for many Canadian youth. Working together, we can help reduce the abuse of these substances and encourage all Canadians to lead healthier, drug-free lives.”
To supplement its national campaign, the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada provides online tools and resources to give parents reliable information about drugs and the dangers of misusing prescription drugs. The website also features tips for parents who want to have an impactful conversation with teens about the dangers of drug abuse.