This New Year, make it your resolution to return your meds!

VANCOUVER, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) and Metro Vancouver have joined forces once again to urge members of the public to make a New Year's resolution to bring their unused medications back to their local pharmacy.

Old and expired medications are potentially harmful if they are swallowed by children or pets. Medications also need to be carefully disposed of so they do not contaminate the environment.

"The good news is that more people than ever are taking their unused medications back to their pharmacy," said Metro Vancouver Board Chair Greg Moore. "Our hope is that, by continuing to work with the region's pharmacists, we can make even more people aware of how easy it is to have unused medications disposed of safely."

Parkash Ragsdale, Deputy CEO of BCPhA, said, "Community pharmacists are in the ideal position to promote safe medication returns and have been helping to protect both their patients and the environment for many years.

"For 2012, we're encouraging the public to make it their resolution to return their unused medications to their pharmacy."

British Columbians can return expired or unused medications to pharmacies across the province at no cost.

According to the Post Consumer Pharmaceutical Stewardship Association, consumers are returning increasing quantities of unused medications to pharmacies in the Metro Vancouver region. In 2008, before the BC Pharmacy Association and Metro Vancouver launched a public awareness campaign, less than 18,000 kilograms of medications were returned to pharmacies in the region. In 2010, consumers returned 29,791 kilograms of medications.

More than 375 pharmacies are involved in this year's medication returns campaign. Further information about returning unused medications to pharmacies can be found at www.medicationsreturn.ca.

The British Columbia Pharmacy Association (BCPhA) is a not-for-profit, voluntary, professional association of pharmacists and pharmacies. It represents more than 2,600 pharmacists and 800 pharmacies throughout British Columbia.

Metro Vancouver delivers regional services, planning and political leadership on behalf of 24 local authorities. MetroVancouverRecycles.org is an online guide to more than 1,400 locations in the region where you can donate, recycle or appropriately dispose of those items you no longer want.

SOURCE British Columbia Pharmacy Association

For further information:

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

To interview a Metro Vancouver spokesperson, please contact Glenn Bohn, communications specialist, 604-451-6697 office, 604-314-5964 mobile. Glenn.Bohn@metrovancouver.org

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