As part of International Overdose Awareness Day marked on August 31 and National Drug Drop-Off Month, the Toronto Police Service collaborated with Rexall to help raise awareness about the safe disposal of medications.
“It is an opportunity for people to turn in medications they are not using and also reduce the stigma of obtaining a naloxone kit,” said Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit Sergeant Wendy Drummond.
Naloxone is used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid drugs such as fentanyl, Percocet, morphine, methadone and heroin.
“The number of opioid-related deaths are increasing,” said Drummond. “We know that kids take unused and expired drugs from their parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets and this, sometimes leads to an overdose.
“Even with people who are prescribed opioids legitimately from their doctor, there is the potential for accidental overdose. If you can’t prevent it, be prepared for it.”
Superintendent LeeAnn Papizewski said the Service is committed to working with community partners to help ensure the safety and security of Torontonians.
“This year, we are pleased to be working in partnership with Rexall Pharmacy to raise awareness and to educate the public about programs such as Medication Take Back, a program that helps avoid accidents and misuse, including the risk of drug overdose,” she added.
Rexall Pharmacy offers a complimentary service year-round to its patients as do other pharmacies.
Medication Take Back helps support the safe disposal of expired or unused cough and cold medications, ointments and pain medications throughout the communities they serve.
Patients are encouraged to drop off all old and/or expired medications at any Rexall Pharmacy for safe disposal.
“At Rexall, we want to ensure our patients and customers use their prescription and non-prescription medications safely, and that includes safe storage and disposal,” said Mona Sabharwal, who is Rexall’s Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Services.
“As August is National Drug Drop-off month, we want to highlight our Medication Take Back program so that our patients and customers know where they can safely dispose of their unused medications. Having old and expired medications laying around can be a health and safety risk and put loved ones in your home, including pets and children in danger. To avoid accidents and misuse, we encourage everyone to bring back these items to their local Rexall Pharmacy for safe disposal.”
Daniel Yustinov, the manager of the Rexall Pharmacy at 901 Eglinton Ave. W. where officers shared information with customers, agreed on the importance of the message.
“We encourage people to bring back medication, whether it is expired or just not used because unused and unmonitored drugs can be a hazard in the home,” he said. “If someone had an operation and they had pain medicine they were given, but did end up using them, which is great, they can’t just be left there as they can present a hazard for someone who is not paying attention or with a drug-seeking behaviour.
“If you have a bottle of prescription pills, dump them into a bag and bring them to a pharmacy. That should not be done with needles or sharps. For those, you can go to any Rexall Pharmacy and get a container, fill it, close it up and bring it to us. You can get an empty one in exchange.”