Pharmacists around the country are encouraging locals to check their medicine cabinets and get rid of any unwanted or expired medicines by returning them to their local pharmacy.
It is estimated that there are millions of medicines sitting in Australian homes, either out-of-date or no longer needed.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.
New research published by the Australian Health Review has revealed that 75 per cent of people said they kept medicines in case they needed them in the future.
Other reasons included not wanting to waste money, not knowing how to dispose of them, intending to give them to family and friends, or forgetting the medicines were there.
Return unwanted medicines (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.
RUM project manager and community pharmacist, Toni Riley said over 780,273kg of medicines were collected and safely disposed of by the RUM project, preventing it from ending up in waterways or landfill last year alone.
“If that’s only medicines collected from around 20 per cent of the population, imagine how many more are hiding in bathroom cabinets and kitchen drawers across the country,” Ms Riley added.
“By following three simple steps of read, remove and return, Australians can minimise the risk of unintended poisonings and medication mix-ups, and do their bit to protect the environment.”
Anyone can return their medicines to any community pharmacy at any time, for safe collection and disposal.
Stockpiling medicines can also lead to accidental poisoning, especially amongst young children.