Safe pill dump­ing urged


Pa­tients are be­ing urged to dis­pose of un­wanted medicines safely and legally - not throw­ing them in the rub­bish or flush­ing them down the toi­let.

It is pro­hib­ited to throw medicines in land­fills be­cause of the risk to the en­vi­ron­ment, and throw­ing them down the toi­let could re­sult in a wa­ter­way con­tam­i­na­tion.

To avoid this, all phar­ma­cies in Auck­land of­fer a free col­lec­tion and dis­posal ser­vice, called the Dis­pose of Un­wanted Medicine Prop­erly (DUMP) ini­tia­tive.

Any un­wanted and ex­pired over­the-counter and pre­scrip­tion medicines, sharp items like nee­dles and chemo­ther­apy drugs are ac­cepted.

The medicines are ster­ilised through au­to­clave tech­nol­ogy and non-haz­ardous waste is then deeply buried in a lined land­fill. Cy­to­toxic and ra­dioac­tive waste is shipped to Aus­tralia for in­cin­er­a­tion.

Phar­ma­cist and Northcross Phar­macy co-owner Darien Tait said pa­tients should fin­ish their medicines as pre­scribed or re­turn the medicines to their phar­macy straight­away, if they have a re­ac­tion to them.

Stor­ing pre­scrip­tion medicines for later use is a no-win, she said.

‘‘The worst thing they can do is give them to some­one else.’’

The DUMP project is sup­ported by lo­cal health boards, Auck­land Coun­cil and In­ter­na­tional Waste.

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