By Nancy Kelly
A one-day prescription drug drop-off event planned for Dec. 1 in Kings County will be the first of its kind to be held in Nova Scotia.
“No one has done this yet,” said Kentville Police Chief Mark Mander. “The province will be paying close attention to the response we get.”
Annapolis Valley Health (AVH) is partnering with the Kentville Police Service, Kings District RCMP and community physicians and pharmacists to host the multi-site drop-off for unwanted and outdated prescription and over-the-counter medications. All participating organizations are members of the Opiates Issues Council established in 2011. The group’s inaugural drug amnesty project is part of its response to public concerns about opiate use in the Annapolis Valley and an effort to keep prescription drugs off the streets.
“In just about any house you will find one or more items in a medicine cabinet that is not being used or is expired,” explained Kevin Fraser, Manager of Addiction Services for AVH.
“These items can be harmful to seniors and children and can increase the risk of criminal activity.”
Collection envelopes have been sent to homes throughout the county via the weekly flyer pack. Additional envelopes can be picked up at the Kentville Police and RCMP offices in Kings County and will also be available at the drop-off locations on Dec. 1.
Drop-off sites will be located outside the County Fair Mall in New Minas, Greenwood Mall, Kentville’s Centre Square and the Berwick Fire Hall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“We will be easy to spot and people will have the option of basically driving by and dropping off their items or if they have specific concerns they can address them to a professional,” said Mander.
Regardless of the choice, “there will no questions asked,” noted Mander, who assured any personal information on medicine containers will be destroyed. All meds will also be destroyed in a way that is sensitive to the environment.
“This is about educating the public and establishing best practices going forward,” Fraser added. He acknowledged most people are not aware that pharmacies currently accept outdated and unused medications.
“We want this to become something people do on a regular basis.”
Those unable to participate in the one-day drop off are encouraged to speak to a pharmacist or visit the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia website.