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 Silverbacks take it to overtime against Wenatchee Wild

Silverbacks earn a point, even the gap in 4-3 OT loss

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Agreement to purchase property for Salmon Arm Landfill extended

CSRD has six months to get Ministry of Environment approval and city rezoning

City administrator honoured for 20 years of service

Carl Bannister’s career with Salmon Arm begins with evacuation

Avalanche control scheduled tomorrow on Highway 1 east of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled along Highway 1 on Dec 15. From… Continue reading

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Salmon Arm Tennis Club’s indoor facility moving at smooth clip

Volunteer support has been crucial, opening expected in April 2019.

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Farm Market owner believes fresh is best

Brad DeMille travels to California to bring another 8,000 pounds of satsumas to the Shuswap

Salmon Arm business to provide fresh greens year round

Area residents invited to participate in test market to help develop signature salad mix

SASCU Christmas tree program runs to Dec. 17

Several businesses doing their part to help out those in need

Most Read