A national promotion encouraging older people to safely get rid …

Unused drugs targeted
Campaign urges safe disposal

A national promotion encouraging older people to safely get rid of unused medicines is building on an existing scheme supported by most pharmacies in the region.

Operation Medicine Cabinet was launched in metropolitan centres yesterday by Home Instead Senior Care, the New Zealand arm of an international company specialising in home care for the elderly.

The campaign encourages senior citizens to safely dispose of their expired or no-longer-used medications free of charge before the end of August.

Invercargill pharmacist Graham Lewis, of Baillie and Lewis Chemists, said most chemists in the region had been disposing of expired medications for clients at no cost for a few years.

Mr Lewis said he was not aware of Operation Medicine Cabinet, although it seemed to be working along similar lines.

Anyone with unused prescription medicine should take it to a chemist, who would dispose of it safely, he said.

For health and safety reasons, none of it was recycled.

Chemists became frustrated with people who saved up old medication “in case they might need it again one day”.

Medicines were prescribed for specific reasons, depending on factors such as the ailment and any other drugs the person might be on.

Saving the medicine up “for next time”, or even sharing them with others who had similar ailments, was stupid, Mr Lewis said.

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