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Dublin: 2°C Saturday 27 November 2021

Tablet dump to help raise awareness of addiction to medication

In the past five years, benzodiazepine use has increased by nearly 40 per cent in Ireland. People are being encouraged to dump their old stockpiles of medication.

Image: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A TABLET DUMP will take place today in Tuam in an effort to remind people to get rid of old medicine safely – and to raise awareness of issues around misuse of medication.

The big Tuam Tablet Dump will get underway today at 1pm at Brú Bride, Tuam to encourage people to get rid of their old pills, powders and medicines safely.

It is the first pilot town-wide tablet dump to take place in the country and aims to raise awareness of the issues arising from the misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medication. It also aims to encourage people to get rid of unused, unwanted and out-of-date medication.

Seven pharmacies have joined up with the tablet dump and are providing bins for people to dump their old stockpiles. The event is one of many activities taking place across Galway as part of the Western Region Drugs Task Force Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week.

Emmet Major, Community Liaison Officer with the WRDTF explained:

People can stockpile medication. This leads to sharing, overdosing or misuse of drugs which can be very dangerous. When we think of harmful drugs we immediately think about illegal substances like cocaine or heroin. But some of the most dangerous drugs can be those in our medicine cabinet, particularly if they are not prescribed specifically for a person or are misused.

He also pointed to the increase in the use of highly addicted benzodiazepines and the increase in internet ordering of medication and head-shop products.

Drug use

According to Major, over the past five years, benzodiazepine use has increased by nearly 40 per cent in Ireland.

These drugs are meant for short-term use only under strict medical supervision. However, we know from our work that benzodiazepines and other drugs are often shared by people without any medical knowledge and can make their way on to the streets.

A report out last month showed that the use of sedatives and anti-depressants has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years. The National Drug Prevalence Survey found that women and older adults aged 35-64 are more likely to use anti-depressants, sedatives and tranquillisers.

It also revealed an increase in use of these substances by men and among adults aged 15-34 years.

Read: Group wants increase in number of medicines available without prescription>

Read: Report shows increase in use of sedatives and anti-depressants>

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