"300,000 teens across Canada have abused prescription drugs and 59 per cent of those drugs come from the home."
Chad Topp says those sobering statistics played a key role in Moose Jaw's South Central Drug Strategy (SCDS) group hosting their first Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on May 13.
The SCDS encouraged locals to return old or unused prescriptions to one of two pharmacies in the city (Medicine Shoppe and Main Street Pharmacy), and organizers are calling the event a success.
"Mainly what we were looking for was educating the community in how important it is to returning prescription medications and properly dispose of them at pharmacies," said Topp, who is Director of Wakamow Manor Social Detox in Moose Jaw.
In addition to the statistics regarding teens abusing prescription drugs, Topp said there are environmental concerns if people decide to simply flush old medications down the toilet. "We don't want them (contaminating) our water or soil," he stated.
Topp said they have added up all of the prescriptions that were returned betweent the two locations on Saturday, and have broken them down into three categories:
Narcotics: 175.8 grams
Anti-depressants: 47.4 grams
Other (including antibiotics): 26.41 pounds
Topp figures there was even more than that returned around the city, saying that "other people told me they had returned their medications, just to different pharmacies around Moose Jaw."
Of all of the prescriptions handed in, Topp says a couple stood out due to their age.
"One of the medications expired in 1981, and another expired in 1979."
Topp says the SCDS will likely hold a similar event again, possibly this fall, but reminds everyone that you don't have to wait.
"It can happen any time of the year, any day and to any pharmacy," he said, adding the main message is to "dispose of them the proper way."