Antibiotics Awareness Week

17 November 2023
pills in blister pack with words don't flush medication

World Antibiotics Awareness Week

World Antibiotic Awareness Week runs from 18th to 24th November

As part of our Nature Calls campaign, we remind customers that you should only ever flush the 3Ps (toilet Paper, Pee and Poo). This also applies to drugs and medication – but rather than blocked drains being the problem, this behaviour can lead to a rise in drug-resistant infections. Unused medicines should always be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal – never flushed. 

That is why Scottish Water is supporting World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), which is run by the World Health Organisation and is celebrated annually from 18th to 24th November. WAAW aims to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria resist the effects of medications, making common infections harder to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread and putting you at risk of more severe or longer illness. 

Scottish Water is working in partnership with the NHS, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, University of Highlands & Islands and Highlands and Islands Enterprise through the One Health Breakthrough Partnership. The OHBP aims to reduce the risk of pharmaceutical pollution through source control. 

The OHBP have produced a video “Antibiotics and You”, which aims to improve public awareness of how antibiotics work, the need to follow instructions on the label, finish the course and the importance of antibiotic resistance to us all. The video sets out the impact of medicines on the environment and how unused medicines should not be flushed down the toilet or sink or put in the bin but should be safely disposed of by returning to the pharmacy.

Elise Cartmell, Chief Scientist of Scottish Water is asking you “to help prevent the spread of resistant bacteria and protect the environment by returning unused medicines to the pharmacy for safe disposal”.

To further support WAAW, Scottish Water has updated Nature Calls campaign materials to include information on safe disposal of medications and have developed some new social media content that will be going out on Saturday 18th November and can be seen in the main image above.