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December 3, 2019

Drugs found in waterways discovered to be changing fish behaviour

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.Recent research conducted by Monash University has found that traces of antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs found in water environments have been influencing marine life behaviour like it would in humans. 

Monash University Professor Bob Wong noted that the research, published in the Biology Letters journal, highlighted the impact of a number of psychoactive medicines including Prozac.

Professor Wong said, “What we found was that exposure of mosquitofish to Prozac actually disturbs the normal group foraging behaviours of these fish,” he said.

Another study also showed that the impacts of pharmaceuticals in waterways extend beyond fish, even impacting a platypus and spiders that resided near the stream. Researchers estimated that some platypuses were consuming almost half a human daily dose of antidepressants every single day.

The alarming results of these studies highlight the urgent need to correctly dispose of any unwanted or expired medicine, to stop them from entering our waterways and impacting marine life across Australia. 

Rather than flushing unwanted or expired medicines down the toilet, we urge consumers to remove the tablets and capsules out of their packaging and take them to their local pharmacy for safe and correct disposal. 

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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