Be Medicinewise Week was first introduced in 2011. The campaign sparked a national conversation about how to manage medicines safely and wisely. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Medicine Misuse Can Happen To Anyone’ and responds to the alarming fact that prescription medicine misuse has been declared a ‘national emergency’.
Brenniston believes this is a message that needs to be heard.
The campaign discusses the use - and misuse - of medicines, and prompts Australians to question their doctors and health care providers to ensure they’re getting the treatment that’s right for them.
Here are some top tips to ensure you’re taking medication safely:
- Be sure to correctly read the labels and only take medicines as directed.
- Take medicines at the recommended times.
- Don’t share medication with friends and family.
- Take medicine in the form it comes - do not break pills apart.
- Let your doctor know if you’re taking other medication to ensure correct dosing and no side effects will occur.
- Don’t use medicine recreationally or with other substances such as illegal drugs or alcohol.
From a first aid point of view, Brenniston reminds Australians that medications like Paracetamol do not belong in workplace first aid kits, unless it’s a specialised kit in a remote location or on a boat, for example. Providing medications to employees may lead to an allergic reaction or misuse, which can further harm a patient.
If you believe a person has made a mistake with medicines or overdosed on them, call the Poison Information Hotline on 13 11 26 for assessment and first aid advice, or call Triple Zero for an ambulance if the situation is an emergency.
Be Medicinewise Week encourages Australians to call the Medicines Line on 1300MEDICINES (633 424) for expert advice about medications from health professionals.