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

Names hatched for quail sculptures

The Keremeos quails have names.

Appreciation dinner for Keremeos firefighters in the works

Dinner and fundraiser for the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department to be held Nov. 17 at Victory Hall

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

North Okanagan RCMP say there are applications that allow people to change, hide call display info

Pawsitive response by the community for 60-plus surrendered cats

Community comes together to help surrendered cats at Penticton SPCA

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Most Read