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Med Return-it brings communities together and builds awareness in Fort Nelson First Nation

​​Sep 4​, 2018

Fort Nelson First Nation was one of 30 communities to receive a grant from FNHA for the Medication Return It events.

​In May 2018, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) provided funding to support all First Nations communities in BC to organize a Medication Return-it event in their community.  So far, 30 communities have received funding, including Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN).
 
Fort Nelson First Nation hosted an event in early July and FNFN’s community health nurse, Maggie Lin led a team of community volunteers to collect expired, unused and unwanted medications by going door-to-door and reached more than 75 households in the community.
 
“There are unused and expired medications everywhere,” shares Maggie. “They pose many health concerns for community members, especially the elders.  People may mistake these expired medications for their current ones, and potentially take wrong or sub-therapeutic doses.”

Med-Return-It-Story-Sonny-Capot-Blanc-and-Christine-Kotchea.jpg
(Mother-Son volunteering duo, Sonny Capot-Blanc and Christine Kotchea)
 
The team of volunteers engaged in numerous conversations surrounding medication safety and proper disposal of their medication.  Many members of the community were surprised to learn that medication can be recycled.  Seventeen year old volunteer, Sonny Capot-Blanc shares, “I didn’t know you can recycle pills by taking them to the pharmacy, I thought you just throw medication in the garbage.”
 
This was an eye-opening experience for Sonny and many community members.
 
“Without proper disposal, the medications are going into the landfill and impacting the land,” shared elder Betty. “It’s an excellent choice to recycle and properly dispose of medications.”
 
This event was a great opportunity for Fort Nelson First Nation to partner and collaborate with the local pharmacy at Save on Foods Pharmacy.  Ivy Fung, Save on Foods Pharmacy and her team ensured proper disposal of the medication.  “A lot of people don’t know how much of their medications have expired until they start looking for it,” says Ivy. “It’s great that we can support this community event so that the medications can be disposed properly and won’t be accidentally taken because they didn’t know that it’s expired.”
 
Fort Nelson First Nation used this opportunity and worked with the volunteers to not only collect medication, but also hand out sun safety kits to each household visited.  These kits provided items and information for community members to keep safe while under the sun. 
 

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