Committee passes bill for safe disposal of medicationThe Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed legislation introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) that would provide consumers with safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused controlled substances.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed legislation introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) that would provide consumers with safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused controlled substances.
Consumers currently seeking to reduce the amount of expired or otherwise unwanted prescription drugs in their homes have few disposal options, increasing the risk that teenagers will gain access to them. The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 seeks to reduce that risk by permitting individuals and long-term care facilities to deliver unused drugs for safe disposal and promoting the development and expansion of drug take-back programs.
“Parents know that keeping unwanted prescription drugs in their homes increases the risk that young people will find them, but current law provides them with few alternatives,” Klobuchar said. “By making it easier for people to dispose of controlled substances they no longer need, we can reduce teens’ access to these drugs and help curb teen drug abuse.”
“Unused and unwanted medication create a health hazard, but federal law currently prohibits people from giving their old medication to established drug take-back programs,” Cornyn said. “As a result, unused medication is often diverted by drug abusers or improperly flushed into our water system. This cost-free and common-sense bill will allow state and private entities to institute responsible drug take-back programs."
The bill has the support of 41 state attorneys general, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice.
Up to 17 percent of prescribed medication goes unused, and if improperly disposed, may contribute to drug diversion and environmental problems. The bill would allow consumers to give controlled substances to specially designated individuals for disposal, such as law enforcement officials. It also would allow long-term care facilities to dispose of certain prescription drugs on behalf of their residents.
Teenagers now abuse prescription drugs more than any other illegal drug except for marijuana, and the majority of teens who abuse these drugs get them for free, usually from friends and relatives and often without their knowledge.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Herb Kohl (D-WI).