|Canada has become the world’s second-largest consumer of prescription opioids per capita, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. As Canadians increasingly consume more medications, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, it is becoming more and more important to dispose of them properly. Tossing unwanted drugs in the trash or flushing them down the toilet can be potentially harmful, leading to accidental poisoning of children and pets, misuse by unintended recipients and water contamination.As you are likely aware, prescription drug abuse continues to be a growing problem in Canada. In fact, a Youth Smoking Survey found that 6.7 percent of youth in grades 7-12 have used prescription drugs to get high. And in Ontario alone, opioid-related deaths have doubled over 10 years. What’s more, research is revealing traces of pharmaceuticals in our water supply. Canadian studies are still catching up, but an investigation south of the border into the U.S. water supply found that 41 million Americans had trace amounts of drugs in their drinking water. And 80 percent of sampled rivers and streams contained low levels of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids.This serious problem isn’t a new one, but as the use of medications in Canada continues to rise, so will the harmful effects that come with their improper disposal. Many healthcare facilities are taking measures to educate patients on safe disposal practices. If you aren’t already doing so, or are looking for more ideas, keep reading for some helpful tips you can share with your patients.How to properly dispose of medications|
Remember, keeping medications out of the hands of unintended users, out of reach of our children and pets, and out of our water supply is easy, if we follow safe disposal practices. We hope you’ve picked up a tip or two you can share with your patients.
“Prescription Drug Misuse.” Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. N.p. N.d. Web. Retrieved 28 Feb. 2014.
“DEA Event.” — Take Back Your Meds. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 08 Feb. 2014.
“How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 08 Feb. 2014.
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