Joelle Mbamy (right), owner of Sunrise Pharmacy, and her daughter Donna Mbamy-Conci created a program that sees five cents given back for every used needle brought to the pharmacy for proper disposal. Kristi Patton/Western News

Okanagan pharmacy buying back used needles

Sunrise Pharmacy gives five cents for every used needle returned

A used needle return program set up in a downtown Penticton pharmacy was created out of compassion for those addicted to drugs and with the hope to keep the city protected.

Joelle Mbamy, owner of Sunrise Pharmacy (located at 749 Main St.), said they are offering five cents for every used needle brought into their pharmacy so they can safely transport them to Interior Health to be disposed of.

Just six days into the program, Mbamy estimates there have been over 1,000 used needles turned in.

“It has been very successful. The response has been phenomenal. Everyone is very respectful and all of the needles are coming in packaged and secured in the sharp containers so there is no risk of cross-contamination for us and for them,” said the pharmacy owner’s daughter and pharmacy assistant Donna Mbamy-Conci.

Sunrise is also offering people larger containers to ensure they are collected safely. On Tuesday one person returned over 100 needles and the same person had another 500 counted out from the area known as the Hobo Trails near Okanagan Lake. Wednesday morning another 100 were brought in.

“Not only can people using the needles take responsibility but they are also learning about the implications of someone getting poked with a needle and how they can stop a child playing in the grass or sand from getting infected with HIV or (hepatitis) C by bringing the used needles in to be properly disposed of instead of tossing them aside,” said Mbamy-Conci.

Related: Sharps disposal containers set to go up around Penticton

Through the Sunrise Smiles Foundation, a non-profit that the pharmacy established, they can pay for the needle returns at the pharmacy. They also host a pancake breakfast for those need on Saturdays.

Besides the hand-written poster clinging to a sandwich board in front of the pharmacy, Sunrise hasn’t advertised the needle return program. Word has travelled fast though, evident in the call they received from a group in Kamloops that runs something similar and is now hoping to connect with Sunrise to share information.

“Various communities are now coming together to come up with formulate a solution that is effective and reducing that stigma. Overall we just want to make sure everyone is safe,” said Mbamy-Conci. “We might not be able to change the world, but we can change one person at a time. Everyday we try and impact one person’s life and I think we have been successful at that.”


Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm athletes hit the track in Cowichan 2018 BC Games

Results from day one with Thompson-Okanagan team are in

Taxi collides with parked dump truck in Salmon Arm

No word yet on the cause or if charges will be laid

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Racers wanted for Shuswap soap box derby

Salmon Arm 10-year-old Brody Paton is making preparations for annual Friendship Day event

Melodic summer evenings live on in the Shuswap

WOW has grown from a small gathering to a weekly festival that attracts from 500 to 1,000 people

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Lettter: Columnist wrong about Mexico, England

America hater, Gwynne Dyer, misrepresents and obfuscates the facts in his last… Continue reading

Letter: Roads in Shuswap’s Blind Bay being neglected

Two weeks ago we went for a drive to Notch Hill Estates.… Continue reading

Letter: Unconvinced of benefits of proportional representation

BC citizens have a very important decision coming up this fall; to… Continue reading

Update: Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

Fire chief Dennis Craig said wind was blowing the fire away from homes

Invasive species can be a matter of perspective

Column: Great Outdoors/James Murray

Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

Car thief nabbed by Mounties on wildfire duty

RCMP working wildfires deploy spike belt to nab alleged auto thief from Oliver.

Most Read