05/09/2012 11:21 EDT | Updated 07/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Unused meds collected by Ontario police force

An eastern Ontario police force has set up a program to collect medication that is expired or no longer needed, which it hopes will keep the drugs away from thieves and youth.

Cornwall police have set up four drop-boxes across the city for unwanted medication, which is the first program of its kind in Canada.

The move comes one year after an inquest into the overdose death of two people in nearby Brockville, Ont. Both victims were found to be addicted to Oxycontin.

The program has also started in response to a rising trend of youth stealing their parents' medication such as painkillers to take to parties.

"We can incinerate them the proper way and it's out of the way of the youths' hands," said Danielle Lauzon, an exhibit officer with Cornwall police.

"As opposed to putting it through our sewer systems and into the toilets or the ground ... we can put these boxes out there."

Lauzon added she has seen more medications being seized in area drug raids. She decided drop boxes would help find a solution.

Pharmacies limited

Pharmacies do accept old medication but the cost of disposing of the drugs often means only regular customers have the privilege.

The leftover medication does end up in the wrong person's hands, one medical expert said.

"We know that a certain per cent of teens steal their parents' medication to get high and people break into homes to steal the medication," said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the medical officer of health and CEO in the province's eastern Ontario unit.

"This is a temptation you want to get rid of."

Other eastern Ontario police forces have already inquired about the idea, Lauzon added.