New Campaign Launched For Safely Disposing Of Unwanted Medications

A new campaign has been launched to help the public dispose of unused or out of date medications in Cork and Kerry, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced.

The 'Dispose of Unused Medicines Properly', or DUMP, campaign has been organised by the HSE with community pharmacists in Cork and Kerry and is also supported by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Kerry County Council and the Southern Regional Waste Management Office.

More than 250 pharmacies in Cork & Kerry are participating in the campaign this year and the HSE and participating pharmacists are actively encouraging people to return unwanted or out of date medicines to them so that it can disposed of safely and properly.

Medicines can accumulate in the home for a variety of reasons, including unfinished courses of antibiotics or a condition/illness that is no longer a problem and subsequently the remainder of the medication is not used. Also, older people or someone with an ongoing illness can often have large amounts of medicine at home. Whatever the reason, the HSE and pharmacists are urging householders to take the opportunity to dispose of these unwanted medicines - prescription or over the counter - safely.

HSE Pharmacist Louise Creed, said: "We would strongly urge people to take this opportunity to get rid of out of date or unused medicines. Medication can pose a real hazard in the home, particularly to children or other vulnerable people. Clearing out your medicine cabinet is something that should be done on a regular basis. Check all the dates and remove anything that is out of date or no longer required.

"As well as the hazards posed by overdose, accidental poisoning and damage to the environment, medicines can change when out of date and may end up being harmful."

Storing large quantities of medication at home can pose a hazard and put people at risk of:

• Accidental poisoning (particularly in children)

• 4,000 children in Ireland are accidently poisoned each year, according to figures from the Poisons Information Centre in Beaumont Hospital.

• 93% of cases of poisoning occurred in the home or a domestic setting. Brightly coloured medications or liquids can easily be mistaken for sweets or drinks by children or other vulnerable people.

David Lane, Drug & Alcohol Services Co-ordinator added: "The pharmacies involved have all embraced the campaign and are actively encouraging people to return unwanted or out of date medicines to them. I cannot emphasis strongly enough how important it is to ensure medicines are disposed of properly and safely. Please take some time to check out what's in your cabinets and avail of this free service over the coming weeks."


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