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In preparing for this story, I thought I’d better practice what I preach. I dumped the contents of my medicine cabinet onto my bathroom floor, and was a bit surprised by what I found. Happily, my favorite lipstick that I thought I had lost, but unfortunately, three different expired medications. (Really, though, I can only take the blame for two, as the old anti-malaria prescription was my husband’s responsibility to dispose of after a work trip was suddenly cancelled.)
To make matters worse, I enlisted my kids to help film a few segments for the video accompanying this story. My eight-year-old daughter (who has never been camera shy) gladly picked up a bottle of acetaminophen and proceeded to easily open the childproof cap. She spilled a few tablets into her palm and held them up proudly for the camera. Let’s just say, I didn’t teach her how to do that.
|Use your medicine cabinets for toiletries, and lock your |
No matter your age, it’s important to make sure you are only getting the medication and dosage you require. While you’re dusting off all the other corners of your house this spring, take a few minutes to go through your stash of medications. Bring expired pills and creams to your nearest pharmacy for safe disposal, and while you’re there, chat with your pharmacist to make sure your drug regime is safe and appropriate. Every drug has its risks and toxicities, even those available over the counter.
Here are a few statistics to help motivate:
• 40% of Canadians are currently disposing of expired medications incorrectly (Statistics Canada)
• 13% of seniors living at home take five or more medications (Statistics Canada)
• Medication is the leading cause of poisoning in children (Health Canada)
For more information on the proper use and disposal of medication, click here.