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August is National Drug Drop off month

This year, we are partnering with valued stakeholders to raise public awareness of the safe storage and disposal of medications. 

DFK’s National Drug Drop off campaign is in partnership with the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) and is sponsored by Odlum Brown, Rexall and Shoppers Drug Mart.

There is a real need for Canadian families to improve the safe handling and disposal of medications at home.  This August, with the support of our sponsors, we are highlighting the gap between parents’ understanding of the harmful effects of medications that are easily accessible at home and taking easily actionable steps to prevent these harms.

According to a recent survey, there is a discrepancy between the awareness of safe medication practices and the safe handling, storage, and disposal of prescription and over the counter medicines. This discrepancy is putting children at risk of non-medical substance use and poisoning.

The survey, commissioned by Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) in partnership with DFKC and conducted by Angus Reid in June 2023, also investigated awareness and actions to prevent harmful environmental impact of improperly disposed medications.

Results showed that the vast majority of parents 85% do not keep their medications locked away from their children on a regular basis. For the most part, those medications (prescription or over-the-counter medications as well as natural health products) are accessible by children.

In recent years we have witnessed a significant increase in toxicological emergencies, particularly among youth aged nine to 13 years old.among youth aged nine to 13 years old. There is a pressing need for families to educate themselves and their children on the safe storage of medications at home, as well as safe disposal when medications are expired or no longer needed, and consequently prevent problematic use and acute poisonings.”

Dr. Maude St-Onge, Medical Director, Centre anti-poison du Québec and DFK Advisory Council member.

The survey showed that awareness of these issues is fairly high.  87% of parents said they consider safe disposal of unwanted medication to be essential or important, and 77% are aware of the environmental impact of improperly disposed medications.

However, only 53% of parents have discussed the safe disposal of medications with their children, and 47% are disposing of medications improperly.

“Easy access to prescription and over-the-counter medications can pose a serious risk to the health of children. Unfortunately, non-medical prescription drug use, hospitalization and preventable deaths from easy medication access at home are not uncommon in Canada”

 Chantal Vallerand, Executive Director, Drug Free Kids Canada.

We encourage parents and guardians to take steps at home to prevent these situations by having open conversations with their children about risks and effects of using medications improperly, and always practice safe storage and disposal of any unwanted medications.

I lost my only child, Jordan, to a drug overdose. Jordan became addicted to pain medication when it was prescribed to him after a back injury, He was only 25 years old and was just starting his life. His death shook us to the core. I feel that campaigns like this one that raise people’s awareness of safe medication practices are an important preventive measure that can easily be implemented by all families.”

Leslie McBain, Co-Founder of Moms Stop the Harm

Here are some of the National Drug Drop off Events scheduled for August.

Coming to Vancouver on August 16th DFK will host an employee engagement event in conjunction with the HPSA at the Odlum Brown head offices in Vancouver.

Coming to Toronto on August 31st – Rexall’s Prescription Drug Return Initiative.

In honour of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st,  Rexall, the Toronto Police, and Drug Free Kids Canada will join forces in three Rexall Pharmacy locations in the GTA to support safer homes and communities with a Prescription Drug Return initiative.  Naloxone kits will also be given out.

Coming to Toronto on August 31st – Rexall’s Prescription Drug Return Initiative.

In honour of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st,  Rexall, the Toronto Police, and Drug Free Kids Canada will join forces in three Rexall Pharmacy locations in the GTA to support safer homes and communities with a Prescription Drug Return initiative.  Naloxone kits will also be given out.

  • 902 Eglington Avenue West
  • 474 Spadina Avenue
  • 539 Parliament Street

Are you ready to dispose of your medications? It’s simple!

To make a safe and easy drop-off, empty all dry medication such as pills and tablets into a clear bag, keeping all liquids, creams, and inhalers in their original vials, and remove all personal identification.

Then, return to their local Rexall Pharmacy, Shoppers Drug Mart or any other participating pharmacy using HPSA’s Collection Location Finder.

Your donations help us make a difference in the lives of Canadian families! Please donate today!