Canada Safe Medication Disposal
I’m obviously a big fan of reducing, reusing and recycling. That said, one of my biggest concerns is dealing with expired medications. Depending upon where I’ve lived in the country, there have been different options for disposing of them. What I do know is there is increasing evidence that throwing prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and other personal care products in the garbage — or flushing them down the toilet or the sink — is negatively impacting the environment and may have a harmful effect on human health. These pharmaceuticals filter into the groundwater, ending up in our lakes and streams. The U.S. Geological Survey studied water from 139 streams in 30 states and found that 80% contained traces of pharmaceuticals. The affect those traces of pharmaceuticals may have on the environment, plants and marine life is understudied and unknown. According to Health Canada, “Although there is not yet any solid evidence, there is also some concern about leftover prescriptions drugs, which are disposed of into the environment, possibly adding to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is believed to be caused by the overuse or inappropriate use of prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, in preventing or treating infection and disease in people, animals and plants. When antibiotics are used inappropriately (for example, a drug prescribed to fight infection is not taken as directed), the weak germs are killed but the stronger, more resistant ones survive and multiply. These drug-resistant germs make it harder to prevent and treat infections and diseases because fewer antibiotics are effective against them.” If you live in the British Columbia, Canada, you don’t have to worry about what to do with your unused pharmaceuticals because the province has a program for that: The Post Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association (PCPSA). The PCPSA was formed with the intention to divert expired and/or unused medications from landfills and sewers, as well as to ensure safe and effective collection. There are more than 900 locations across the province where the public may return unused or expired medications, and there is no charge to the public for this service. If you live in British Columbia you can dispose of your old medications in an environmentally friendly manner. This includes all prescription drugs, all nonprescription medicines, herbal products, mineral supplements, vitamin supplements and throat lozenges. O Canada, your home and native land got it right with the PCPSA.