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‘Medicine Cabinet Cleanout’ returns

FORT FRANCES—The local seniors’ coalition once again is encouraging district residents to take a look inside their medicine cabinets while doing their spring cleaning this month.

From now until March 31, the public can take all their out-of-date or unused medications they don’t need anymore, bring them to their local pharmacy for safe and free disposal, and possibly win a prize as part of the fifth-annual “Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Contest.”

The purpose of the contest is to encourage people to safely dispose of their medicine so that it’s not used after its best-before date, accidently used by someone who’s not supposed to take it, stolen and intentionally used by someone who’s not supposed to take it, or improperly goes into the environment, explained Becky Holden, a public health educator with the Northwestern Health Unit and chair of the local seniors’ coalition.

“Because keeping medication safe is very important for yourself, and acknowledging there are certain prescription drugs that are at a higher risk for theft, if you’re not using them or they’re expired, you should be disposing of them,” she added.

Participating pharmacies include Pharmasave Downtown, Shoppers Drug Mart, Emo Drugs, Atikokan Pharmacy, and the ones at Safeway and Wal-Mart.

Those who drop off old drugs will be entered in a draw to win a prize.

Six winners—one from each participating pharmacy—will be drawn randomly after the contest closes.

To qualify for the contest, the medications can be prescriptions that have expired or you no longer need to take, as well as old or expired non-prescription medications, including cough/cold medicine, pain relief drugs, first-aid substances, vitamins, and herbal products.

Last year, more than 50 people turned in about 40 pounds of medication. In 2008, 54 people turned in total of 55 pounds.

“We continue to have a great response from the community, so we definitely acknowledge that [the contest] is a continued need,” said Holden.

“Every year, old and unused medications are returned.

“Our local pharmacies are really on board with this and continue to support it annually,” she added.

While the contest itself only runs until the end of the month, all area pharmacies will accept old medications people bring in year-round.

For more information about the “Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Contest,” call 274-9827 or 482-2211.

(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)

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