The public is urged to return old medicines to avoid accidental poisonings

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People are being urged to bring unused or expired medicine to their local pharmacies after figures showed more than two-thirds of accidental poisonings involve children at home.

Cork Kerry Community Healthcare is asking the public to use a free service running for the next six weeks to safely dispose of medicines to prevent accidental poisonings, intentional overdoses, inappropriate sharing of medicines and environmental harm.

The National Poison Information Center at Beaumont Hospital received more than 11,500 poisoning inquiries in a single year. Of these, 67% involved children and adolescents, while 93% of poisonings took place at home.

In its latest annual figures, the National Suicide Research Foundation recorded 7,763 hospital presentations due to intentional drug overdose, most commonly paracetamol.

Opioids and painkillers were also most commonly implicated in some 3,715 deaths recorded by the National Drug Death Index between 2008 and 2017.

Taking old or unused medications that were not directly prescribed can lead to mistreatment of disease, consumption of incorrect dosages of medications, misuse of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and unforeseen physical illnesses and effects. secondary.

HSE pharmacist Louise Creed said the drugs could cause “real danger” at home. She strongly urged people to take the opportunity to get rid of it.

“Emptying your medicine cabinet is something that should be done regularly,” she said.


Medicines have an expiration date for the same reason that expired food and medicine could do more harm than good.”

Expired medicines are often improperly disposed of by being thrown away with other household waste, flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, which can seriously harm the environment when the products end up in landfill or seep into in our soil, our food chain and water supply.

The Dispose of Unused Medicines Properly (Dump) campaign allows the public to bring unused or expired medicines to participating pharmacies to ensure they are disposed of properly.

In 2018, more than 280 bins, containing more than four tons of medicine, were safely disposed of.

The Dump campaign runs until Friday April 22, with almost every pharmacy in Cork and Kerry taking part.

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