Return Unwanted Medicines has launched a new awareness campaign that explains the dangers of keeping expired and unwanted medicine in the home and explains how people should to dispose of medicines responsibly.
It is recommended for older Australians who may have a stocked medicine cabinet that might not be aware of any expiry dates on their medicines.
It is estimated that there are millions of medicines sitting in Australian homes – either out-of-date or no longer needed. These quantities of medicines pose a huge danger of accidental poisonings and medication mismanagement.
Most accidental poisonings occur in children younger than five years old, with children aged one to three years being at the greatest risk, but it is well worth check your medicines for your own safety as well.
Return Unwanted Medicines - or the RUM Project - is a Federal Government-funded initiative that provides all Australians with a free and convenient way to dispose of expired and unwanted household medicines.
Anyone can return their medicines to any community pharmacy at any time, for safe collection and disposal.
A recent Griffith University study of over 4,300 Australians* found more than 80% of people are completely unware of the RUM Project and do not know how to dispose of unwanted medicines safely and appropriately.
“Last year alone, over 700 tonnes of medicines were collected and safely disposed of by the RUM Project, preventing it from ending up in waterways or landfill. If that’s only medicines collected from around 20% of the population, imagine how many more are hiding in bathroom cabinets and kitchen drawers across the country,” said Toni Riley, Project Manager, RUM, and community pharmacist.
The Griffith University study also revealed that most respondents (67%) said they disposed of unwanted medicines with the usual household garbage; followed by being poured down the drain or toilet (23.3%) and less than a quarter (23%) actually disposed of their medication by returning it to a pharmacy.
“By following three simple steps of READ, REMOVE & RETURN, Australians can minimise the risk of unintended poisonings and medication mix-ups, and do their bit to protect the environment,” continued Ms Riley.
Return Unwanted Medicines is urging Australians to follow 3 simple steps to a safer home and cleaner environment:
For more information on Return Unwanted Medicines, visit returnmed.com.au or talk to your local pharmacist.