Keep Medications Out of the Ocean

Mar 04, 2008

Victoria, BC – Do your part for a drug-free marine environment by returning unused or expired medications to a local pharmacy for safe disposal, says Capital Regional District Board Chair Denise Blackwell. Keeping waste medications out of the waste stream helps to safeguard your family and the environment.

Coinciding with Pharmacist Awareness Week, March 3-9, the CRD has launched an educational campaign to encourage the proper disposal of expired or unused medication through the Medications Return Program (MRP). Chair Blackwell announced the CRD’s campaign alongside Health Minister George Abbott, who is urging all British Columbians to dispose of waste medications through the MRP.

The Medications Return Program enables the public to return medications such as prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products, vitamin and mineral supplements and throat lozenges to participating pharmacies.

Surveys conducted by the Post Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association (PCPSA), the organization that administers the Medications Return Program, show that 70% of Capital Region residents still dispose of medications down the drain or in the garbage. The main goal of the CRD’s campaign is to raise awareness and use of the MRP, and to proactively protect the environment from the potential effects of waste medications.

Trevor Smyth, Supervisor of the CRD Regional Source Control Program, commented that the presence of a wide range of pharmaceuticals in municipal wastewater is an emerging concern world-wide.

“While some pharmaceutical compounds are effectively removed or broken down by sewage treatment, other pharmaceuticals can pass through treatment and enter the environment unchanged,” said Smyth. “At this point the best way of minimizing the potential effects of these compounds in the local environment is to strongly encourage the public to dispose of unused or expired medications at their local MRP-participating pharmacy.”

As part of the “Clean Water Begins at Home” Source Control initiative, the Medications Return Campaign aims to inspire CRD residents to do their part to safeguard the health of the local environment.

Past “Clean Water Begins at Home” campaigns have targeted the disposal of fats, oils and grease down the drain (“We’ve put our sink on a fat-free diet”), and the excessive use of laundry detergent (“At our place, half the detergent can help a whole lot”).

Find information at:
Clean Water Begins at Home
Medications Return Campaign 

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For more information, contact:
Trevor Smyth, Supervisor, Regional Source Control Program, CRD
Tel: 250.360.3082