Dubbo Pharmacists are encouraging residents to return excess or out-of-date opioid pain and prescription medicines to a local pharmacy.
Orana Mall Pharmacist Lisa Gibson said returning medicines to pharmacists would prevent their inappropriate disposal.
According to the Australian Government's Department of Health, nearly 150 people are hospitalised in Australia every day as a result of the adverse effects of opioid pain medicines.
"Returning unwanted, or excess medicines to a pharmacy is a free and safe method of disposal and helps prevent medicines being disposed of inappropriately, such as with household garbage," Ms Gibson said.
Tim Koerstz Pharmacist, Candice Hannelly, said although people in Dubbo are good with discarding excess prescription medicines, it is essential everyone knows they can take excess medication to any local pharmacy for correct and safe disposal.
"Because they're a controlled substance [prescription medicines] they can be abused or misused, so if you no longer need them, or they are out of date, it's important not to have them around the house," Ms Hanelly said.
"They can attract crime if people know you have a large excess of medications, and they can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, especially if a child gets their hands on them, or if the wrong person takes them.
"Flushing them down the toilet and things like that we also advise against, because still, we don't know where they are going to end up.
"A lot of tablets now have unique codings to help prevent them from breaking down.
"We're happy to take them so we can discard of them correctly here. Pharmacists dispose of them in the proper way where they're crushed and mixed with other products."
Ms Hanelly said taken expired medicines may not be as effective, and some can break down to be dangerous and may not be safe to consume. The Dubbo pharmacist also said they could dispose of other types of drugs.
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"We don't just dispose of opioids, any drugs can be brought in to be discarded," she said.
Ms Hanelly said a police officer has to be present when the pharmacists discard of the drugs.
In a concerted effort to reduce the hospitalisation rates, opioid-related dependence, illnesses, and cases of misuse, the Therapeutic Goods Administration encourage Australians who are prescribed painkillers and don't use them to not keep them 'just in case' or for use down the track.