I was recently contacted by one of the PR consultants for the R.U.M Campaign after they came across the story I shared of when my three year old got into our medicine cupboard and overdosed on one of my other child’s prescription medication.
You can read that story here.
Of course after my experience of one of my own children experiencing poisoning on prescription medications and learning more about this government initiative, I knew I had to jump on board and help endorse it – after all, raising awareness on this very topic is the reason I shared our story in the first place. So off we jetted to Sydney, to share our story on Sunrise.
You can click here to see our story and my interview that was aired on Sunrise.
Below I have shared the Media Release for the Return Unwanted Medication Campaign, for your information.
MILLIONS OF OLD MEDS IN AUSSIE HOMES POSE HEALTH HAZARD
New campaign urges Aussies to return unwanted medicines to pharmacy
With more than 5,000 children ending up in hospital due to medicine poisonings each year, Return Unwanted Medicines has launched a new awareness campaign that explains the dangers of keeping expired and unwanted medicine in the home and explains how people should to dispose of medicines responsibly.
It is estimated that there are millions of medicines sitting in Australian homes – either out-of-date or no longer needed.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.
According to the Australian Poisons Information Centres, 5,580 children required hospitalisation due to medicine poisonings across Australia in 2015. In the same year, the Centres also received more than 32,000 calls relating to children being unintentionally exposed to medicines. Most accidental poisonings occur in children younger than five years old, with children aged one to three years being at the greatest risk.
Return Unwanted Medicines – or the 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. Anyone can return their medicines to any community pharmacy at any time, for safe collection and disposal.
A recent Griffith University study of over 4,300 Australians* found more than 80% of people are completely unware of the RUM Project and do not know how to dispose of unwanted medicines safely and appropriately.
“Last year alone, over 700 tonnes of medicines were collected and safely disposed of by the RUM Project, preventing it from ending up in waterways or landfill. If that’s only medicines collected from around 20% of the population, imagine how many more are hiding in bathroom cabinets and kitchen drawers across the country,” said Toni Riley, Project Manager, RUM, and community pharmacist.
The Griffith University study also revealed that most respondents (67%) said they disposed of unwanted medicines with the usual household garbage; followed by being poured down the drain or toilet (23.3%) and less than a quarter (23%) actually disposed of their medication by returning it to a pharmacy.
“By following three simple steps of READ, REMOVE & RETURN, Australians can minimize the risk of unintended poisonings and medication mix-ups, and do their bit to protect the environment,” continued Ms Riley.
Return Unwanted Medicines is urging Australians to follow 3 simple steps to a safer home and
For more information on Return Unwanted Medicines, visit returnmed.com.au or talk to your local pharmacist.
*The National Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines Project Audit 2016 was conducted by Griffith University and funded by RUM and Australian Government Department of Health. The research consisted of two stages, and was conducted from June to October 2016. The first stage involved an audit of a sample of returned medicines containers from all Australian states and territories. In total, representative samples of 423 Return of Unwanted Medicines (RUM) bins from all Australian states / territories. The second stage involved a two-step general population audit that consisted of a survey to assess awareness of the NatRUM scheme, and the risks associated with the improper disposal of unwanted medicines and accumulation of medicines, and structured interviews with higher medication uses to identify perceptions and behaviours surrounding the disposal of unwanted medicines. There were 4302 adults from the Australian general population (including a sub-sample of 166 interview participants who were higher medication users) who participated in the research.