This new year, make it your resolution to return your expired or unused meds!

VANCOUVER, Jan. 14, 2013 /CNW/ - The new year is a great time for a fresh start - and the perfect time to clean out your medicine cabinet! The BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) urge RDNO residents to return their expired or unused medications to their local pharmacy for proper disposal.

"We are encouraging everyone to make a new year's resolution to safely dispose of their expired or unused medications," said Ralph Lai, president of the BC Pharmacy Association. "British Columbians can return these medications to pharmacies across the province at no cost."

BC's Medications Return Program ensures safe and effective disposal of old or expired prescription drugs, as well as oral dosage over-the counter medications and natural health products. More information on the program can be found at www.medicationsreturn.ca.

"The RDNO is working with BCPhA to enhance awareness about proper medication disposal in the North Okanagan," said Karmen Morgan, Waste Reduction Coordinator for the RDNO.  "We recognize the potential environmental risk improperly disposed medications can pose in landfills and to local water sources, and encourage residents to return expired or unused medications to the pharmacy where purchased."

Morgan added: "Residents and business owners are also reminded that medical items (syringes, plungers, IV bags, etc.) are not included in the Regional Blue Bag Recycling Program and pose health risks to staff that hand sort recyclable materials."

The BC Recycling Hotline is a great resource for the most up-to-date drop-off recycling information for items not included in the Regional Blue Bag Recycling Program. Call 1.800.667.4321 or go online to www.rcbc.bc.ca and search the Recyclepedia for the item you would like to recycle.

The BCPhA is a not-for-profit, voluntary, professional association of pharmacists and pharmacies. It represents more than 2,700 pharmacists and almost 800 pharmacies throughout British Columbia.

SOURCE: British Columbia Pharmacy Association

For further information:

To interview a pharmacist in your local area, please contact Elise Riedlinger, BCPhA: 604.269.2866 / elise.riedlinger@bcpharmacy.ca

To speak with someone at the RDNO, please contact Karmen Morgan: 250.550.3743 / karmen.morgan@rdno.ca