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Dispose of unused medications safely

Bring them back to pharmacists, rather than landfilling or flushing, urge officials.

The region and pharmacy association are reminding people to properly dispose of their unused medications.

Some years ago, the region polled residents about the acceptable method of disposal is, and only one in five knew that unused medications should be brought back to pharmacists.

Medications are taken from there to an incinerator, where the drug is rendered benign.

Given the New Year, the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Metro Vancouver are urging members of the public to make a resolution to bring their unused medications back to their local pharmacy instead of throwing them in the garbage.

Unused medications can pose a significant health, safety and environmental hazard when improperly stored or disposed.

British Columbians can return expired or unused medications to pharmacies across the province at no cost. The BCPhA and Metro Vancouver campaign to raise awareness of these issues involves more than 20 pharmacies in Port Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey and West Vancouver.

"There is no away when you throw medications away in your garbage or flush them down the toilet," said Metro Vancouver Director Greg Moore, Chair of the region's Waste Management Committee. "Our hope is that, by working with the region's pharmacists, we will make it easier for people to safely dispose of these potentially harmful medications."

Marnie Mitchell, BCPhA CEO, said: "Pharmacists have been helping to keep people safe and protect the environment for many years. The convenience of being able to dispose of medications at no cost in your local pharmacy is a great service and we want to encourage British Columbians to make full use of it. We're pleased to be able to work with Metro Vancouver to help get the word out."

More information about returning unused medications to pharmacies can be found at

BCPhA represents more than 2,300 pharmacists and 720 pharmacies in B.C. who provide trusted advice and accessible care to patients throughout British Columbia.

Metro Vancouver delivers regional services, planning and political leadership on behalf of 24 local authorities. is an online guide to more than 1,900 locations in the region where you can donate, recycle or appropriately dispose of those items you no longer want.