What You Should Do with Expired and Unwanted Medicines

Written by Kylie Lucas, Pharmacist.

Did you know that throwing out unwanted or expired medicines at home can be a safety risk?

Placing medications in your rubbish bin can contribute to landfill, as well as potentially contaminating the soil. Even pouring them down the sink or flushing them down the toilet means your medicines could enter the waterways.

A recent analysis of water samples from Sydney Harbour detected significant levels of a range of varying types of pharmaceuticals, including pain relievers, epilepsy medicines, and heart medicines. Even low levels of pharmaceutical pollution can be hazardous to the aquatic ecosystem since fish and other wildlife are sensitive to these products.

If you do have medicines that are expired, unused or unwanted, return them to your local pharmacy. Returning your unwanted medicines to your pharmacist is a free service available nationwide under the Return Unwanted Medicines program. Through this process, returned medicines get sent off for proper disposal which is approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

With only 23% of individuals disposing of their medicines in this way, it’s an important message that we can all share with our friends and family!

This post was written by Kylie Lucas. Kylie has been a pharmacist for over 10 years and works in a country town pharmacy in the south west of Western Australia. She lives on a farm with her husband, daughter and lots of pet animals.

 

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