June 20, 2017

3 Steps to a Safer Home

Unfortunately, poisoning is one of the more common childhood injuries. Every year in NSW alone, more than 500 children are admitted to hospital because of poisoning from products found in and around the home – which includes medicines. Most accidental poisonings also happen to children younger than five years old, with children aged one to three years most at risk.1

The simple fact is keeping expired or unwanted medicines around the house – no matter where you store them – can be dangerous and especially if you have small children who like to explore. Elderly people may also become confused with many medicines in the home and this can lead to medication mismanagement, often requiring hospital care.

Plus, medicines disposed of down the sink or toilet, or put in rubbish bins, can also lead to poor environmental consequences. The responsible way to get rid of medicines is taking them back to the pharmacy.

Return Unwanted Medicines is calling on all Australians to review their medicine cabinet and consider what they need. A good rule of thumb is if you actually don’t know what it’s for, or when last you used it, it needs to be returned to the pharmacy!

READ: Go to the areas in your home where you store medicines. Read the labels, check expiry dates and review all medicines. Consider whether you actually need them.

REMOVE: Remove all expired and unwanted medicines from your home medicine area and place them in a bag or container. If the medicine comes in a cardboard box, that can be recycled separately.

RETURN: Return your expired and unwanted medicines to your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist will put them in a secure bin for safe disposal.

Watch this video and learn how you can keep your home safe and do your bit for a cleaner environment.

For more information, talk to your pharmacist.


  1. Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. 2015. Factsheet. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 May 2017].


The Return of Unwanted Medicines Project is a free service that offers a way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines safely and conveniently at your local community pharmacy. Find out more about the service here.


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