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Most Parents Not Properly Disposing Of Medications: Survey

By Brad Perry Aug 15, 2022 | 12:49 PM

Olga DeLawrence / Unsplash

A new survey finds more than half of Canadian parents are disposing of medications improperly.

The survey was done by the Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA) and Drug Free Kids (DFK) Canada.

Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they do not consider the safe disposal of unwanted medications as essential.

While 65 per cent of parents dispose of their unwanted medications through take-back programs, four-in-10 still toss them in the trash.

“Disposing of medications in the trash or down the drain affects our environment. It leads to harmful impacts on wildlife, livestock, pets and our community,” Terri Drover, director-general at HPSA, said in a news release.

“Parents can highlight the environmental impact with their children at an early age to help promote safe disposal habits as they grow older.”

Over half of parents have unwanted medications in the home, with 70 per cent saying they do not keep their medications locked away.

Nearly half said they have never talked to their children about how to safely dispose of unwanted medications.

Chantal Vallerand, executive director at DFK Canada, said parents need to start open conversations with their children about safe disposal at an earlier age.

“When parents start to engage with their kids and have meaningful dialogues about drugs, it can make a world of difference in their decision-making,” Vallerand said in the release.

“The sooner our children understand the risks and effects of medications, the more we can minimize accidental ingestion at home.”

The survey was conducted by Angus Reid for HPSA in partnership with DFK Canada that consisted of a sample audience of 1,015 parents of children aged 11 to 19 as well as 505 teenagers aged 13 to 19 in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.


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