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Public awareness campaign launches in Saskatchewan to address harmful effects of medication misuse

A public awareness campaign aims to address harmful effects of medication misuse in Saskatchewan by encouraging residents to return unused medication. Tetra Images/Getty Images

Saskatchewan residents can now look forward to a safer way of disposing unused and expired medication as the provincial government provides $350,000 towards a program. The Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan launched a public awareness campaign Wednesday to address the harmful effects of medication misuse.

According to a news release, the campaign encourages Saskatchewan residents to return all unused and expired medication to a local pharmacy.

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“We are pleased to support the Pharmacy Association’s efforts to keep Saskatchewan residents safer,” stated Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley.

“Developing a provincial safe medication disposal program is an important part of our suicide prevention plan, as removing unused prescription drugs limits access to a means of suicide.”

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The province’s contribution will fund Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan to address and prevent suicide.

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“Most prescription medications can be dangerous if not taken as directed, or if taken by someone other than the intended patient,” stated Michael Fougere, Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan CEO. “Medications that are safe for adults may in fact be fatal for children, pets or even seniors.”

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In this program, pharmacists will accept the return of any unused medication to reduce instances of others finding, intentionally using or accidentally taking unused medication. Those who wish to participate in the program are asked to scratch out any patient identification on the medication bottles and place them into a clear plastic bag to return to the pharmacy where they will be safely destroyed on a regular basis.

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“Pharmacists play a vital role in counselling patients on the use of medications, and they are located in more than 125 communities right across the province, so it makes sense that these medications be taken back to pharmacies for safe disposal,” Fougere said.

The public awareness campaign includes billboards, radio and newspaper ads, and posters.

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