Nearly 5 tonnes of obsolete medicines safely dumped
on 02/10/2012 00:00:00
A total of 249 out of 256 pharmacies in Cork and Kerry are participating in this year's campaign.
Medicines can accumulate in the home for a variety of reasons and, often, older people or somebody with an ongoing illness can have large quantities of medicines at home.
HSE South Community Care pharmacist Louise Creed said medicine cabinets should be cleared out regularly.
"Check all the dates and remove anything that is out of date or no longer required," she said. "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well as the hazards posed by overdose, accidental poisoning, and damage to the environment, medicines can change when out of date and may end up being harmful."
In 2010, the National Poisons Information Centre received 9,330 inquiries about human poisoning, with medicines being the most common cause.
Paracetamol and Ibuprofen were the most common agents and 50% of inquiries involved children under the age of 10.
Hospitals also dealt with 12,216 cases of deliberate self-harm last year. Drug overdose was the most common method.
Unwanted medicines are often dumped with other household waste, either flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink.
There is concern that unwanted and out-of-date medicines end up in landfills, permeating soil, and entering the food chain and water supply.