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NorWest Community Health Centre holds drug amnesty

More than 50 people came by to turn in more than 200 litres of unwanted drugs.
Drug amnesty
The NorWest Community Health Centre filled over 200 liters of bins with drugs community members wanted to dispose of. (Michael Charlebois, tbnewswatch)

THUNDER BAY - Community health organizations are taking measures to try and curb the opioid crisis in Thunder Bay.

One solution, according to Michelle Kolobutin, NorWest Community Health Centre's harm reduction coordinator, is that cleaning out your medicine cabinet can go a long way.

On Thursday, the health centre on Simpson Street held their second Drug Amnesty Day alongside members of the Thunder Bay Police, and Thunder Bay District Unit.

“We’ve had folks bring in a lot of the over-the-counter prescription medication. We also did see fentanyl, oxycontin, lorazepam, some of the things that have really significant street value,” Kolobutin said.

The amnesty encouraged residents to bring in any over-the-counter drugs, expired prescription medication, or illicit drug or drug paraphernalia.

The drug amnesty provides complete anonymity, and despite police presence for safety, no questions were asked about the source of the drugs turned in.

“We wanted everyone to feel they could bring anything they wanted to get rid of. Police are not laying charges or looking for any outstanding warrants. They’re a partner in trying to work on the opioid crisis with us,” Kolobutin said.

Thunder Bay Police will be transported the drugs to be safely disposed of following the event.

“When we’re looking at the opioid crisis, I think it’s really important for us to start small with our medicine cabinets,” Kolobutin said.

She said while clearing out a medicine cabinet seems small, some opioids have street value that can be properly disposed.

“Folks are bringing in old prescriptions of oxycontin they’ve gotten after surgeries and didn’t use, and those still have street value. This is a small step everyone at home can take.”

NorWest said more than 50 people came by to turn in more than 200 litres of unwanted drugs.