Canada’s largest drug chain said Monday that this year’s effort, its third with PDFC, also includes Loblaw Pharmacy, increasing the number of participating pharmacies to 1,800 nationwide. Shoppers Drug Mart became part of Loblaw Cos. in March 2014.
The National Medicine Take-Back Campaign aims to motivate Canadians to clean out their households of unused and expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines and to drop them off at their local pharmacy. The initiative also is designed to promote safe use of medicine and environmentally friendly drug disposal.
“Keep Your Drugs off the Streets” is the theme of this year’s campaign, which is supported by advertising — including a television spot (see video above) — aimed at raising parents’ awareness of the dangers of misuse of prescription drugs and OTC medicine by teenagers.
In last year’s campaign, the Shoppers Drug Mart collected 390 tons of unused and expired medicine, more than twice the amount gathered in the previous year.
“I want to thank the thousands of Canadians who answered the call and returned their unused and expired medications to Shoppers Drug Mart 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, Shoppers Drug Mart is proud to work with the Partnership for a Drug-Free Canada.”
A study commissioned by the PDFC revealed a change in Canadians’ attitude toward drugs since 2013. Among the findings, two-thirds of parents exposed to the campaign said they had spoken to their kids about the risk of misusing prescription drugs to get high, compared with 40% of parents who hadn’t been exposed to the campaign. More than 80% of parents polled indicated that they know they can return unused or expired medicine to their pharmacy.
“We are very thankful to Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw Pharmacy for their high level of commitment to helping us rid households of medicine that can be abused by teens to get high,” stated PDFC executive director Marc Paris. “We also salute over 40 media partners who have provided the partnership with approximately $30 million in free advertising time and space during over the past two years.”
To supplement its national campaign, the PDFC offers online tools and resources at canadadrugfree.org to provide parents with information about drugs and the dangers of prescription drug misuse. The website also features tips for parents looking to have conversations with teens about the dangers of drug abuse.
“The devastating effects of addiction to prescription drugs are being felt by many families and communities in every region of the country,” commented Minister of Health Rona Ambrose. “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.”